Table of Contents
- What Is Fentanyl?
- How Does Fentanyl Work?
- What Are the Detection Times for Fentanyl, and What Affects Them?
- How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
- What Happens if You Take Too Much?
- How Can You Safely Stop Taking Fentanyl?
- Fentanyl Addiction Treatment & Medications
- Contact Us Today!
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a potent drug that is similar to morphine. Physicians prescribe this drug to relieve pain due to cancer. It is also prescribed for chronic pain when less potent opioids would not have the desired effect. Doctors often prescribe this medication to relieve pain after their patients undergo surgery. Although it is similar to morphine, fentanyl is actually 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Fentanyl is a prescription medication that physicians prescribe for severe pain, but illicit drug manufacturers also create it in the lab for sale on the street. In 2014, fentanyl overdose deaths began to increase steadily; in 2020, 56,526 people died of a fentanyl overdose. The number of deaths from prescription opioids also remained high and peaked in 2017 at 17,029. In 2020, overdose deaths decreased slightly to 16,416.
To make matters worse, illicit drug manufacturers have been adding MDMA, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin to fentanyl doses. They are doing this because it doesn’t require much fentanyl to create the desired high. Because of this, fentanyl is cheaper than other substances, but trouble can begin because these dealers are not informing their customers that they are spiking their doses of fentanyl with other substances. Therefore, customers would be unaware that they are taking larger doses of opioids than they believed they were, which can cause them to overdose on these drugs.
How Does Fentanyl Work?
Fentanyl works by attaching to the brain’s opioid receptors, like heroin or morphine. These areas in the brain control a person’s emotions and regulate pain. While fentanyl interacts with these receptors, it causes the brain to release larger doses of dopamine. Dopamine comes from neurons within the brain’s reward center. The increase in dopamine is believed to be what causes the user to experience the euphoria of fentanyl high.
Fentanyl causes euphoria, but it can also cause the user’s breathing to slow down, increasing the risk that the person will experience an overdose. If this doesn’t occur and the person continues to ingest fentanyl regularly, the brain will adapt to the presence of fentanyl, so it won’t be as sensitive to the drug as it used to be. When this occurs, the user begins to lose the ability to feel pleasure from activities other than ingesting fentanyl. This is known as “tolerance,” leading to fentanyl addiction.
What Are the Detection Times for Fentanyl, and What Affects Them?
After you ingest fentanyl, it will remain in your system based on the following factors:
Did you take other substances with fentanyl?
If you use other substances at the same time that you are using fentanyl, the other substances will affect how your body metabolizes fentanyl.
How often do you use fentanyl, and how long do you use it?
The length of time you use fentanyl and how often you use it can cause the substance to remain in your system for longer.
How did you use fentanyl?
If you ingest fentanyl intravenously, the substance will be eliminated faster than if you ingest the drug by other methods.
How much did you take?
Taking a large dose of fentanyl will remain in your system longer than a smaller one.
Is your liver functioning properly?
If your liver is not functioning adequately, this will cause it to take a longer period of time to metabolize fentanyl.
What about genetics?
Some people are unable to metabolize fentanyl efficiently because of poor enzymatic function. The enzyme CYP3A4 does most of the work metabolizing fentanyl.
What are your body mass index, body fat, and weight?
If you have more body fat than another user, your body will metabolize fentanyl slower. Scientists believe this occurs because the body redistributes the fentanyl to fat tissue.
What is your age?
If you are older, fentanyl takes longer to be eliminated from the body than in a younger user.
How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
The following advanced specimen drug test can detect fentanyl in your system:
- Hair: Detects fentanyl for up to 90 days.
- Saliva: Detects fentanyl for one to three days.
- Blood: Detects fentanyl for up to 12 hours.
- Urine: Detects fentanyl for eight to 24 hours.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that has been used in anesthesiology since the 1960s. It is highly potent, with an onset of action of less than 60 seconds. Fentanyl also has a relatively short half-life, meaning its effects wear off relatively quickly. However, fentanyl’s duration of action is still fairly long, at 30-60 minutes, with a half-life of 90 minutes from the last use. This makes it an ideal choice for use in emergency situations. Fentanyl can be administered via different routes, including intravenously, subcutaneously, and intranasally. Its peak effect usually occurs 2-5 minutes after administration. Overall, fentanyl is a versatile and effective medication that can be used in various clinical settings.
What Happens if You Take Too Much?
It is so easy to overdose on fentanyl because it is such a potent drug. The other reason many people overdose is because they are unaware that they are taking fentanyl, which has been laced with other substances. For example, if you were to ingest Valium or Xanax with fentanyl, the likelihood of an overdose would increase significantly. It may even lead to respiratory arrest and the death of the user.
Many people have died due to overdoses, so it is imperative that you call emergency services if you suspect that someone is overdosing on fentanyl. A medical professional or an emergency technician will be able to administer naloxone and methadone, a medication that can reverse the effects of a fentanyl overdose. It works by attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain so that it blocks other opioids. If a person experiencing a fentanyl overdose stops breathing, the naloxone can cause the person to start breathing again.
If a person begins to overdose on fentanyl, it’s highly unlikely that he would be able to administer naloxone on his own. That’s why it is recommended that friends or family members of someone experiencing an opioid use disorder keep naloxone where they can easily reach it and administer it in the event of an overdose. Naloxone comes as a nasal spray, lozenge, transdermal patch, tablet, or you may inject it into the person’s vein, muscle, or under the skin.
How Can You Safely Stop Taking Fentanyl?
Fentanyl was classified under Schedule II of the Schedules for Controlled Substances Act. This means that the use of fentanyl has a high likelihood of leading the user to psychological or physical dependence. Therefore, if you or your loved one are physically dependent upon fentanyl, it isn’t safe for you to stop ingesting the substance on your own. That’s because you will experience several unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which may be particularly unbearable if you take large doses or use fentanyl for a long time.
It will only take 12 hours after you ingest your last dose of fentanyl for you to begin to feel the withdrawal symptoms. They can last for as long as seven days, but the first three days would be the hardest to endure.
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Muscle pain
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulties sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Depressive symptoms
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment & Medications
If you or a loved one have been struggling with an opioid use disorder, the best option is for you to receive treatment at a drug treatment center. At Illinois Recovery Center, we will place you in our detoxification program to remove the substances from your body in the safest manner possible.
During the detoxification process, we will administer weekly medications, so you don’t have to experience the withdrawal symptoms listed above. It is known as “medication-assisted treatment” or MAT, and we use Vivitrol, naltrexone, and Suboxone to relieve the symptoms.
The detox process is only the beginning of your treatment for your substance use disorder. We address the physical dependence with the detoxification process, but you will need to continue with treatment for your psychological addiction to opioids. Psychological addiction is the emotional or mental components of a substance use disorder. This includes your inability to think about anything other than fentanyl or the cravings you experience.
The symptoms of a psychological dependence can include the following:
- You spend much of your time thinking about fentanyl or using it.
- You are no longer interested in the activities that gave you pleasure before fentanyl.
- You have strong emotional cravings for fentanyl.
- You believe you need to take fentanyl to sleep, socialize or function normally.
To treat your psychological addiction or dependence, we use behavioral therapies that help you adjust your thinking toward more positive and constructive thinking patterns. We also teach coping skills and ways in which you can fight the triggers that lead you to use fentanyl. For this purpose, we provide you with the following therapies:
Group therapy is essential for giving you the social support needed when recovering from an addiction. The sense of community lets you know that you are not alone and that others are having the same struggles that you are having.
Someone with a dual diagnosis has a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder that are active simultaneously. Many people are experiencing both substance use disorders and mental health disorders. The substance treatment community addresses these disorders simultaneously because this has proven to provide the best long-term results.
Contact Us Today!
Contact us at the Illinois Recovery Center today if you are prepared to get help for your opioid use disorder.
How does fentanyl make you feel?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. It is typically prescribed to treat severe pain, such as that associated with cancer or post-surgical recovery. However, it is also sometimes used non-medically, which can lead to dangerous and even fatal consequences. When fentanyl is used non-medically, it is often inhaled, smoked, or injected. The drug enters the bloodstream and quickly binds to opioid receptors in the brain, resulting in a feeling of intense euphoria. Other effects include relaxation, drowsiness, and slowed breathing. Overdose occurs when the respiratory system becomes depressed to the point where breathing stops entirely. Fentanyl overdoses are particularly dangerous because the drug works so quickly and can easily result in death.
What does fentanyl look like?
Fentanyl is typically white or off-white in color, and is sold in the form of a powder or a liquid. Fentanyl is often used to cut other drugs, such as heroin, because it is so potent. As a result, it can be difficult to tell if a substance contains fentanyl just by looking at it. Fentanyl can be deadly even in small doses, and has been linked to a surge in overdose deaths in recent years. If you come into contact with fentanyl, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Symptoms of fentanyl exposure include slow and shallow breathing, dizziness, and coma. If you suspect that someone has overdosed on fentanyl, call 911 right away.
How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
Hair: Detects fentanyl for up to 90 days.
Saliva: Detects fentanyl for one to three days.
Blood: Detects fentanyl for up to 12 hours.
Urine: Detects fentanyl for eight to 24 hours.
What Affects Fentanyl Detection Times?
– Taking other substances simultaneously
– Frequency of fentanyl use
– The quantity of fentanyl use
– Method of usage (e.g., taking Fentanyl intravenously)
– Your liver performance
– Genetics, body mass index fat and weight
– and Age all affect how fast Fentanyl is detectable in your system