Fentanyl abuse usually starts by people taking a prescription without paying any attention to the doctor’s prescribed dosage. Fentanyl is prescribed when a patient experiences chronic pain or sudden intense pain when they are already taking other medication. Abuse is likely if the patient becomes tolerant to Fentanyl dosage that is being administered.
Some people obtain the drug by exaggerating their pain in order to get a prescription and others may not be experiencing any pain at all but pretend that they are, or they claim to have sustained an injury. These factors have led to physicians overprescribing Fentanyl by offering a dose that is too high or extending the time that the patient will take the drug.
Fentanyl patches are abused by people who just want to get high as they will give a person who isn’t in pain feelings of euphoria. Duragesic patches contain gel Fentanyl which is placed in a pouch between 2 membranes. When Fentanyl is administered in a patch, it doesn’t all get used and the disposed of patches are a source of the drug for abusers.
People who abuse Fentanyl have also been known to steal the patches form others who have a supply that was provided for genuine pain, in these cases the drug is either administered as a patch should be or by eating the gel. Fentanyl patches are designed to provide a slow release of the drug over a period of up to 72 hours and by taking this powerful dosage in a shorter time frame is very risky and can cause death.
The National Drug Abuse Institute has found Fentanyl being manufactured in illegal laboratories and those who wish to abuse it can then get it on the street under a myriad of other names such as Apache, China White, China girl, friend, jackpot, murder 8, Tango and Cash, good fella and dance fever. The drug is often mixed with cocaine or heroin.
It is recognized that the number of Fentanyl abusers is high as sales figures are high and the number of deaths caused by Fentanyl abuse has been on the rise.
Fentanyl abuse occurs when the drug attaches to opiate receptors in the body and alters the brain’s reward receptors. Once the drug binds to the receptors, it makes the user feel euphoric or relaxed. Fentanyl is a class II prescription which is highly addictive.
It isn’t easy to detect a Fentanyl abuser but there are some signs which will occur after a tolerance has been developed. One thing to look out for is permanent pinpoint pupils; another is sleepiness as the drug depresses the nervous system abusers may nod off or fall asleep during conversations or even when they are standing up.