Fentanyl Abuse Facts
Fentanyl is a synthetic drug that has a much greater potency than morphine. Statistics have revealed many overdoses and fatalities related to people who abuse Fentanyl.
Fentanyl is used legally as an anaesthetic in operating theatres and in intensive care departments to manage severe pain, especially in cancer patients. Medical professionals administer Fentanyl either as a lozenge or transdermal patch. Patches release the Fentanyl slowly into the bloodstream.
Fentanyl is less known than other opiates such as codeine, heroin or oxycodone, but its strength makes it attractive to drug abusers. In 2004 the America Medical Association (AMA) carried out a study which revealed that Fentanyl is between 50 and 100 times stronger than morphine.
Fentanyl abuse occurs when a person alters the prescribed dose or applies more patches than are required. Another form of abuse is to take the drug for unintended reasons or using it repeatedly. Fentanyl activates the pleasure points of the brain.
It is this stimulation that makes users keep ‘chasing’ the reward of the euphoric feeling and in turn increases the cravings for Fentanyl. Powerful physiological and psychological cravings are indicators that there is dependency on the drug.
Other Indicators of Fentanyl Dependency
- Taking Fentanyl even after the condition for which it was prescribed is resolved.
- Increasing the prescribed dose without the approval of a doctor.
- Taking the drug more frequently than the prescription states.
- Combining Fentanyl with other substances to increase its potency.
- Mixing it with other street drugs such as cocaine or heroin in order to increase its strength.
- Obsessive thoughts regarding obtaining and ingesting the drug.
Fentanyl abusers often falsify prescriptions; others visit different doctors for the same condition in order to obtain higher quantities. Addicts prefer Fentanyl because one dose has the same effect as several doses of other narcotics.
There are concerns regarding the strength of Fentanyl patches, they are designed to release the drug slowly over a period of up to three days. This would provide a very strong ‘hit’ that would probably exceed the limit of most addicts.
Abusers of Fentanyl patches usually apply more than one patch at once, or they may suck on the patch in order to ingest a higher amount of the drug, others extract the drug from the patch, mix it with alcohol before injecting it into their bloodstream.