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Written by Amethyst Recovery

Amethyst Recovery is a foremost authority on addiction and a trusted online source of substance abuse information. Their expert team of addiction professionals provide well researched content for people in the grip of addiction. All posts are fact checked and sourced.

Fentanyl and Overdose Deaths

Fentanyl-Rehab-Addiction-CenterIt’s very likely to have already heard about the opioid epidemic happening in the U.S. One of the primary culprits of this severe problem is called fentanyl. Fentanyl is one of the most powerful prescription opioids available, and it’s responsible for a significant portion of the overdose deaths that occur in the U.S.

If someone is using this drug, they need professional fentanyl rehab not only to learn how to stop using it but how to once again be productive and thriving in their daily life.

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Fentanyl Facts

According to research compiled by the American Medical Association, of the more than 42,000 overdose deaths that happened in 2016, almost 46 percent involved the use of fentanyl.

Some other facts about fentanyl include:

  • The Centers for Disease Control estimates fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine
  • Some people may seek out fentanyl for its strength, but more often people are unaware they’re taking it. For example, dealers may mix it with heroin or sell it as heroin.
  • In 2017 there were around 72,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. which were a rise of around 10 percent from the already soaring numbers of 2016.
  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, and it can be made in illicit labs.
  • Fentanyl is concentrated which makes it easy to transport.
  • The CDC reports that the number of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids has gone up significantly, but deaths from other opioids including heroin, methadone and prescription drugs have gone down.
  • Certain areas have seen higher death rates than others. For example, in many states in the Midwest and the mid-Atlantic regions, death rates have gone up significantly.
  • Some of the brand names of medical fentanyl include Duragesic, Sublimaze, Subsys, and Actiq.

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Fentanyl Effects

Fentanyl is a central nervous system depressant, as are other opioids. It’s just much stronger in its effects. Currently, fentanyl is the strongest opioid pain medication available legally. It’s not just the diversion from medical use that’s problematic with fentanyl either.


Fentanyl analogs, which are illicitly-manufactured replicas of fentanyl, are an even bigger problem than the drug being diverted from legitimate medical use.

When someone uses fentanyl, it binds to opioid receptors and floods the brain with dopamine. When the brain is flooded with dopamine, it then causes euphoria, a pleasant sense of well-being, a decreased sense of pain and suffering, and relaxation. Fentanyl and other opioids can also cause sedation in users. The effects of fentanyl are usually only felt for around 30 to 90 minutes.

Side effects of fentanyl include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Tiny pupils
  • Slowed breathing and heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Flushed skin
  • Concentration problems

Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction

Along with overdose and death, two of the most serious possible effects of fentanyl use is addiction and dependence. Addiction is a diagnosable medical condition with certain specific symptoms. Addiction to fentanyl or any other substance can be characterized as mild, moderate or severe. This is primarily dependent on the number of symptoms a person experiences.

Detecting signs of opioid abuse and addiction early on can be key to a more successful opioid or fentanyl rehab process.

Some of the possible symptoms of fentanyl addiction that indicate a person might need fentanyl rehab can include:

  • Feeling out of control when it comes to the use of fentanyl
  • Wanting to stop using fentanyl but being unable to
  • Having at least one failed attempt to cut down on or stop using fentanyl
  • Becoming secretive or lying to cover up fentanyl use
  • Declines in performance at school or work
  • Cravings for fentanyl
  • Continuing to use fentanyl despite negative consequences
  • Losing interest in things that were previously priorities
  • Financial or legal problems
  • Changes in sleep or hygiene habits
  • Relationship problems

Components of Effective Fentanyl Rehab


When someone is seeking treatment for an addiction to fentanyl or any other substance, there are some elements of that treatment program that are important. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the following are some of the principles of effective fentanyl rehab and addiction treatment in general:

  • Addiction is a complex disease that affects the function of the brain as well as behavior. While it is a difficult disease to treat, treatment is possible. To work, treatment should be comprehensive and should address the changes in the brain that occur with fentanyl use.
  • There isn’t one particular treatment approach or style that is going to be right for every person. Treatment should speak to the needs of the individual.
  • The most effective treatments are readily available. For example, if you’re holding an intervention for your loved one, it’s best to have treatment lined up and ready ahead-of-time. The more easily someone can go into treatment, the better the outcomes in many cases.
  • Fentanyl rehab and addiction treatment aren’t just about drug use. Yes, the goal is to help the patient stop using fentanyl and any other substances, but rehab should also focus on the needs of the whole person.
  • For the best outcomes, it’s essential that people remain in treatment for long enough. According to research, most people need at least three months in fentanyl rehab to stop their drug use. However, this doesn’t mean all of this time has to spent in inpatient rehab.
  • Behavioral therapies are a critical aspect of effective addiction treatment. This can include individual, group and family therapy sessions.
  • Some patients may require medications as part of their fentanyl rehab treatment plan.
  • A person’s addiction treatment plan won’t remain the same over time. It should evolve and change as the needs of the individual do the same.
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders often accompany addiction, such as depression or anxiety. During fentanyl rehab, these co-occurring disorders should also be treated.
  • Long-term monitoring can help reduce the risk of relapse after someone completes a fentanyl rehab program.

Connecting with a Fentanyl Rehab Program

Whether you are struggling with an addiction to fentanyl or your loved one is, treatment is available. There are treatment programs including fentanyl medical detox, fentanyl inpatient rehab, and outpatient treatment programs. There are also 12-step programs available that can help people with fentanyl addictions.

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Finding Help for Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl-Rehab-Recovery-Celebrate-AddictionIf you would like to learn more about fentanyl addiction as well as how addiction is treated, contact Amethyst Recovery. We can help you explore the treatment programs that are available, and answer specific questions you may have.

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