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.

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Fentanyl can escalate from abuse to full-scale addiction rapidly. Fentanyl abuse and addiction can be detected in a person’s behavior and physical changes. Some behavioral signs to look for include:

  • Doctor shopping
  • Stealing money or goods to buy fentanyl
  • Constantly talking or thinking about using or obtaining fentanyl
  • Using the drug to get high rather than to relieve pain as prescribed
  • Using the drug more frequently, or in greater doses than medically necessary

Fentanyl has a powerful impact on the body and the following physiological sign may occur:

  • Slurred speech
  • Tiny pupils
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confusion

Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction in Orlando

There are thousands of treatment centers in the country, but not every rehab option fits each person’s specific needs. If you are looking for help, find a center that offers treatment for fentanyl addiction, or opioid addiction in general, and values patient comfort. Finding a center that treats addiction for other drugs, and co-occurring mental health disorders, is also important.

The Orlando Recovery Center has addiction rehabilitation programs available, along with the mental health professionals and resources necessary to successfully treat addiction. Staff work with clients to reduce or eliminate regular use of substances while addressing co-occurring disorders and physical and psychological symptoms. The Orlando Recovery Center’s treatment resources include detoxification and managing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, attending inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs, and following up with aftercare.

Fentanyl Abuse Facts and Statistics in Florida

Approximately 115 people die from overdosing on opioids every day in the United States. Fentanyl is increasingly attributed to overdose deaths in the country. Because it is much potent than other prescription opioids, fentanyl is more likely to cause an overdose. While the number of deaths caused by opioid prescriptions alone was down in 2016 compared to 2015, those involving fentanyl in combination with other opioids increased.

From 2014-2017, the number of fentanyl-related deaths increased 540 percent. Most fentanyl overdose deaths occur in the eastern part of the United States. In 2016, 32 percent of drug-related deaths in Maine involved fentanyl; in Philadelphia the same year, 27 percent of drug-related deaths included Fentanyl; and in parts of Florida, fentanyl-related deaths increased over 500 percent in three years from 2014 to 2017. Statistics from early 2016 showed that 9,580 Americans died the previous year due to fentanyl abuse.

If you or someone you know is currently using fentanyl and needs help in the Orlando, Florida area, the Orlando Recovery Center can help. To learn more about wide-ranging treatment options for fentanyl addiction, call the Orlando Recovery Center to speak with a representative.

Medical Disclaimer: Orlando Recovery Center aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.