Fentanyl Addiction Facts and Statistics
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s 100 times more potent than heroin
Overdose rates have skyrocketed over the years, with fentanyl overdoses taking the lead
As little as 2mg can be a lethal dose for 90% of Americans; that’s just several grains of the drug
China manufactures most of America’s street fentanyl
80% of all fentanyl seizures in 2014 happened in 10 states
Fentanyl addiction is incredibly common in America. Studies show that more and more Americans are abusing this drug. Unfortunately, abuse often leads to overdose. The overdose numbers for this type of substance abuse is appalling. There’s been an increase of 540% over the last three years alone. Many drug abusers don’t even realize that they are taking fentanyl. This prescription opioid is being mixed in with other illicit drugs, like cocaine.
Those who are struggling with a fentanyl addiction should seek addiction treatment from a rehab program. An effective treatment center can help addicts break free from drug abuse and live healthier lives. One of the most important parts of treatment is to educate drug abusers. Drug abusers should learn about the dangers of fentanyl abuse at treatment centers. In particular, they should have a better understanding of how fentanyl affects the brain.
Fentanyl abuse can lead to mental health problems and permanent physical damage. This drug easily passes through the blood-brain barrier and into the brain. Once that happens, fentanyl rehab is needed to help deal with this type of drug addiction. Without fentanyl addiction treatment, the withdrawal symptoms can become deadly. Here’s a more in-depth look at how fentanyl affects the brain.
Drive Up Dopamine Levels
Fentanyl works in the same way as many other opioid drugs, like heroin. It binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). These receptors regulate and manage one’s experience with pain. They’re also known to have an impact on one’s emotions.
Once the fentanyl molecules attach to the receptors, they flood the brain’s reward centers with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurochemical that is naturally produced by the body. It’s essential to autonomic function. It’s also essential to the regulation of various behaviors. For example, it’s responsible for getting people motivated to do certain tasks. It’s what your brain produces as a means of rewarding yourself. However, with fentanyl abuse, the brain is getting rewarded through artificial means.
When dopamine rushes into the brain, it saturates the receptors. This causes a sense of extreme relaxation and euphoria. It’s a feeling that the brain craves. The saturation of dopamine can also have lasting effects on the mind. It can cause a cascade of other actions to happen. In fact, too much dopamine can lead to nausea, sedation, confusion, respiratory depression, respiratory arrest and more.
The influx of dopamine signals to the brain that it needs to stop producing it. As a result, the brain will naturally start to make less and less of this neurochemical to balance out the neurochemical levels. Unfortunately, within time, the brain will adapt. It will continue to produce dopamine at low levels even when there’s no artificial stimulation.
This is probably why most drug abusers claim that they feel depressed when coming down from the drug.
Why Is This Dangerous?
So, what’s so dangerous about an increase in dopamine levels? Why is fentanyl so dangerous to the point that residential treatment is needed?
Opioid receptors are responsible for controlling your respiration and rate of breathing. When you take too much fentanyl, it slows down your breathing. This is why an overdose usually looks rather peaceful. The drug addict just seems like he or she has fallen asleep.
Another reason why fentanyl is dangerous is because the brain will want to sustain the same levels of dopamine. When there’s no artificial stimulation, the brain does not produce enough dopamine. As a result, it will begin to crave it. This is how drug addicts develop a dependence on the drug. It’s also why your brain gets rewired. People addicted to fentanyl will often engage in drug-seeking behaviors. They need their brain neurochemical levels to return back to their normal state. Unfortunately, that can take a lot of time. It will also require the help of an effective fentanyl rehab program.
Last but not least, the brain will get used to the increase in dopamine levels. It will require more for the brain to get high. This results in a tolerance to the drug. It’s also why many drug addicts tend to take high doses of their drug of choice. Too high of a dose, and they might overdose. Quitting cold turkey is also not recommended. The sudden absence of any opioids may be damaging to your body. It can worsen both substance abuse and mental illnesses. Fentanyl detox is absolutely necessary to break free from this narcotic.
The Resulting Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms
Much like with any type of alcohol and drug addiction, fentanyl abuse leads to withdrawal symptoms. The changes in the brain cause the body to display symptoms of withdrawal when the substance is not available. Drug abusers will also experience fentanyl addiction symptoms. Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Chills and headaches
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms are similar to having the flu. They can be difficult to overcome, which is why intervention programs are often needed to help fentanyl abusers. Drug addicts go through a detox process similar to alcohol detox. The substance abuse treatment will gauge the damage that has been done. It will also help drug abusers overcome the addiction. There are many treatment options and treatment programs to choose from.