Fentanyl Abuse & Addiction in Orlando
Fentanyl is the strongest known opioid drug in the world. The medication was originally created to treat severe pain, especially for people who live with chronic pain and developed a tolerance to other medications. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin, an illicit opioid. Fentanyl is typically prescribed to manage pain after surgery or for chronic pain.
When prescribed, fentanyl is administered through an injection, transdermal patch or in lozenge form. However, fentanyl is often sold as a powder, can be mixed with heroin or cocaine, and is available for purchase illegally. This combination can lead to overdose and possibly a coma or death. Due to the drug’s potency and addictive qualities, physicians restrict fentanyl prescriptions for severe situations, such as terminal cancer patients.
Is Fentanyl Addictive
It is important to note that fentanyl is extremely addictive. The clearest way to clarify the addictiveness of fentanyl is to consider the drug’s direct impact on the brain’s reward system. The main job of a neurotransmitter is to communicate chemical messages in the brain by docking onto receptor sites. Fentanyl acts as a neurotransmitter, interacting with a receptor site in the brain and sending a message to release chemicals that eliminate the awareness of pain. A dose of fentanyl can make a person feel relaxed and euphoric.
Fentanyl can cause the brain to release dopamine in larger amounts than would typically occur without the drug’s presence. The more dopamine that is released, the faster the onset of the addiction. The patient will need to keep taking more fentanyl to block the brain’s effort to correct the excess dopamine production.
Signs of Fentanyl Abuse
Since many patients don’t believe fentanyl harbors significant addictive potential like heroin or other illicit drugs, fentanyl has a higher likelihood for unintentional abuse. Once someone develops a tolerance to fentanyl’s narcotic properties, he or she will depend on it to feel normal. This leads to requiring more fentanyl, both in greater doses and higher frequency.