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What We Should Know About Fentanyl

It is scary thinking about losing a loved one to an overdose. However, as the saying goes, “With knowledge comes power.” Educating yourself on fentanyl and how it could affect your loved ones is an invaluable tool that can be used to encourage treatment and support when necessary.

What Is Fentanyl?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl is a lab-made opioid used to treat severe pain. Fentanyl is typically prescribed for pain during and following surgery or breakthrough pain for chronic pain conditions. While the synthetic opioid is FDA approved, in the last decade there has been an increase in the illegal production of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Due to the increased production of illegal fentanyl, there has been a tragic increase in the number of overdose deaths in the United States.

As NIDA notes, the opioid is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Therefore, recreational use can have a profound negative impact on your physical health.

How Does Fentanyl Affect Your Body?

As noted by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), while fentanyl relieves pain, it is often used for intense short-term highs that leave users feeling relaxed and euphoric. However, misuse can lead to numerous uncomfortable and dangerous effects:

  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unable to empty the bladder
  • Narrowing of the pupils
  • Respiratory depression

Warning Signs of Overdose

Moreover, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, opioids like fentanyl can be deadly even in small doses. There are nearly 150 deaths a day as a result of synthetic opioid use and abuse. Listed below are some additional signs of a fentanyl overdose:

  • Slow or weak breathing
  • Stops breathing
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Limp body
  • Cold/clammy skin
  • Discolored skin, nails, and lips

The effects of fentanyl on the body can be devastating, but its effect on the brain can be just as harmful.

Impact of Fentanyl on Your Brain

According to an article from Neuropsychopharmacology, fentanyl is a strong rapidly acting drug that incapacitates quickly. As an anesthesia and pain reliever, the synthetic opioid induces respiratory depression. Respiratory depression decreases oxygen intake and can lead to brain hypoxia. When the brain does not get enough oxygen, brain cells start to die, which can lead to severe brain damage or death.

The physical effects of fentanyl on the body and brain can have a life-altering impact on your loved ones and their families. Reaching out for support can truly save lives.

Recovering From SUD at the Guest House

At The Guest House, our philosophy and unofficial motto is “Love them back to health,” because we believe there is no such thing as a hopeless cause. We are committed to supporting you from a place of love, kindness, and compassion because no matter what you are going through, everyone deserves to know they are loved and wanted. Here at The Guest House, we specialize in a wide range of therapies to get at the root of your loved one’s addiction to start the healing process.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can lead to life-threatening side effects. Moreover, the production of illegal fentanyl has led to an increase in deaths due to overdoses across the United States. However, with education, you can learn the signs and symptoms of fentanyl misuse to support your at-risk loved ones. At The Guest House, we believe in “Love them back to health” with a person-centered approach to care. Therefore, we can support the whole person in body, mind, and spirit for long-term healing. To learn more, call us at (855) 483-7800.