Fentanyl Detox & Treatment

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Fentanyl Detox & Treatment

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug, manufactured in a lab, instead of being derived from a natural source, such as a herb or a plant. (1)

Fentanyl was originally designed to be an effective pain killer for chronic pain, resulting from serious illness. It’s commonly used in combination with other opioid drugs, in the treatment of cancer, and other serious illnesses.

Fentanyl is commonly used in combination with other opioid drugs, in the treatment of cancer, and other serious illnesses.

Professionals typically avoid Fentanyl use for regular aches, pains, or minor conditions, as its addictive qualities are well established.

In the operating room, Fentanyl can be used intravenously or regionally. (1)

Usually, only anaesthesiologists are allowed to inject this drug in specific amounts, in certain parts of the body.

Sadly, illegal Fentanyl use is increasing rapidly, due to its very high potency in comparison to other opiates, and comparatively cheap production costs.

Fentanyl addiction can lead to fentanyl overdose. Fentanyl overdose deaths are increasing, especially in the United States.

The only way to avoid an overdose would be to enroll in a fentanyl addiction treatment center to begin medical detox today.

Fentanyl Potency and Opioid Receptors

Fentanyl is up 30-50 times more potent than morphine and heroine, and delivers a very rapid, short-lived, spike in euphoria levels, followed by a quick “crash” phase. (2)

This leaves the user quickly seeking more.

Fentanyl binds to opioid receptors in the brain, simulating the effects of other opiate drugs. Repeated use of the drug down-regulates the brain’s production of normal levels of feel-good neurotransmitters, as the body becomes dependent on an external source. (1)

  • As a synthetic opiate, Fentanyl is cheaper to produce than organic relatives such as heroin, and can be produced at scale, quicker.

  • Fentanyl typically has far higher potency than heroin, and can be mixed, even in small quantities, to increase the euphoria achieved from street heroin alone.

  • Some versions of the drug are so potent, that emergency recovery teams in the US are finding their normal Naloxone kits, used to reverse opiate overdose, are not powerful enough to combat the effects of Fentanyl in the brain.

For these reasons, Fentanyl is extremely addictive, and even a few episodes of use will usually result in either (i) ongoing addiction issues or (ii) overdose. (3)

Additionally fentanyl withdrawal involves severe physical symptoms that can be fatal. One shouldn’t quit fentanyl cold turkey on their own, but rather use a supervised medical detox that will eliminate the harmful toxins from one’s body.

Forms of Illegal Fentanyl

Street Fentanyl has a rapid onset and effects generally last less than an hour or two of taking the drug.

Street Fentanyl is commonly found in the following forms: (4)

  • Powder mixed into heroin (cheaper and more powerful than heroin alone)

  • Powder mixed into cocaine

  • Combined with other opioid drugs, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or methadone.

  • Combined with alprazolam (an anti-depressant)

  • Diversion of Fentanyl Transdermal Patches (FTP) to illegal distributors

  • Extracting the drug from patches, then injecting, inhaling through the nose, or inhaling vaporised fumes

Since Fentanyl is extremely potent, people often misjudge the amount used, and overdose becomes more likely. (4)

Naturally, street drugs mixed with heroin do not undergo a standard process.

The amount of Fentanyl mixed with street heroin is unpredictable, and will vary dramatically, in each individual situation.

Using heroin and Fentanyl in combination is like playing Russian roulette. Sadly, some drug users even see this as an added thrill.

Sometimes Fentanyl is used to treat severe and chronic pain, and this comes in patch form. The drug will be absorbed through one’s skin and makes its way to the bloodstream. It then crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds on to one’s opioid receptors.

Fentanyl + Diazepines = Deadly Combination

Diazepine drugs and Fentanyl taken together can be a fatal combination.(5)

Benzodiazepine drugs include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)

  • aftercare planning – for relapse prevention planning, and providing support for long term recovery.

Public .v. Private Fentanyl Detox & Rehab

As a form of recreational substance misuse, Fentanyl addiction does not typically attract detox or 01603 513 091.


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About the author

Melany Heger

Registered Psychologist and Freelance Writer, Jinjin Melany passionately writes about mental health issues, addiction, eating disorders and parenting since 2015. Read more about Melany on LinkedIn. Content reviewed by Laura Morris (Clinical Lead).

Last Updated: March 2, 2023