Overcoming Fentanyl Misuse and Addiction with Treatment at Northpoint Nebraska
The opioid crisis is still a major problem here in the United States.
Many of us are aware of prescription painkillers and heroin, but just in the last 10 years another opioid has grown in popularity.
Fentanyl has made headlines across the country for its dangerous and highly addictive qualities. It’s also known for being mixed with other drugs without the person taking them being aware.
As compared with other opioids, fentanyl is much more potent.
If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to fentanyl, seeking treatment is crucial since just a small amount of the substance can be deadly.
Northpoint Nebraska offers individualized and integrated treatment plans that address the physical and psychological aspects of your fentanyl addiction, as well as any co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Our evidence-based inpatient treatment programs give patients both a safe and comfortable place to overcome their addiction.
Patients will learn what contributes to their fentanyl addiction, how to avoid fentanyl relapses, and how to maintain long-term sobriety.
We also offer outpatient programs that give patients the option to keep their family and work schedules while receiving proven and effective treatment. However, when it comes to fentanyl, inpatient treatment is typically recommended.
Our evidence-based treatment approach, highly qualified team of healthcare providers, and medication-assisted detox services give patients a variety of tools to overcome their fentanyl addiction.
Located in Omaha, Nebraska, our 44-bed facility with state-of-the-art technology is designed to produce positive outcomes for patients. We also offer free assessments for anyone considering entering our inpatient or outpatient programs.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world when misused.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but 50-100 times more potent. Natural opioids come from the opium poppy plant. While some come from the plant directly, synthetic opioids are man-made.
Much like morphine, fentanyl is usually used to treat patients with severe pain, typically after surgeries.
In its prescription form, fentanyl is known as Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze.
On the street, fentanyl may be referred to as Dance Fever, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, and Apace.
Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are the most common drugs associated with overdose deaths in the United States. Fentanyl can be mixed with other drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine. Many people may not even realize the drugs they’re taking are mixed with fentanyl, which can be dangerous since such a small amount can cause serious side effects.
Fentanyl works by altering how the body responds to pain. While it can be an effective form of treatment under medical supervision and under the right circumstances, misuse is always dangerous. Medical professionals will typically try other medicines before moving to fentanyl.
Signs of Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl can be very dangerous when misused. It should only be taken under a doctor’s orders and at the prescribed dosage. Extreme care must be used when taking this drug.
When fentanyl is misused, which includes obtaining and taking the drug illegally or more than prescribed, it can lead to addiction. Signs of addiction include:
- Building a tolerance and needing more of the drug to obtain a high
- Trying to stop taking the drug but being unable to
- Strong cravings
- Making mistakes at school or work due to fentanyl
- Relationships are being affected negatively due to fentanyl
- Taking the drug longer or more often than intended
If you think you or a loved one is addicted to fentanyl, you should seek treatment as soon as possible. You can take an addiction quiz here.
Fentanyl and the Opioid Crisis
The opioid crisis has been an ongoing issue in the United States for years.
Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have made the crisis that much more dangerous.
In 2016, there were 42,249 opioid-related deaths in the United States, with 19,413 (46%) of those deaths involving fentanyl. In 2010, only 3,007 (14.3%) opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), synthetic opioids caused more deaths than any other type of opioid in 2016. The largest group affected were those between the ages of 25 and 44.
The opioid crisis as a whole dates back to the 1990s. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains that in the late 1990s, “pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates.”
“Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.”
The opioid crisis was declared a public health emergency in 2017.
Other opioids include oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Zohydro ER or Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and heroin.
Fentanyl in the Cornhusker State
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced in early 2021 that fentanyl remains a threat in Nebraska.
In 2020, DEA agents seized approximately 2.5 kilograms of fentanyl and around 1,000 fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills in Nebraska. The lethal dose of fentanyl is 2 milligrams, which is comparable to a few grains of salt.
The DEA has reported a jump in counterfeit pills and fentanyl in the area.
Some drugs sold on the streets may be laced with enough fentanyl to result in death. For the person purchasing drugs illegally, the amount of fentanyl a drug is laced with is unknown since it cannot be seen by the naked eye, making it extremely dangerous as just a small amount can be fatal.
What You Should Know About Fentanyl’s Side Effects
Typically, the reason people misuse opioids is because they’re seeking a feeling of euphoria (well-being, elation, or great happiness).
However, there are negative side effects associated with fentanyl. Common side effects of the drug may include:
- Feeling weak
- Slow breathing
- Becoming unconscious (fainting)
- Slowing heart rate
- Dry mouth
More serious side effects include:
- Loss of coordination
- Pounding heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Swelling of the face, throat, lips, or tongue
Those who take too much fentanyl can overdose, which can be fatal. Symptoms of overdose include blue lips, gurgling sounds when breathing, seizures, foaming at the mouth, confusion, unresponsiveness, or difficulty breathing. If you believe you or a loved one may have overdosed, call 911 immediately.
The Fentanyl Detox Process
A medical detox may be necessary to treat fentanyl withdrawal.
Detox is a period of 7-10 days during which you rid your body and mind of the harmful toxins from the substance you misuse or have an addiction to.
A medically supervised detox can help treat withdrawal symptoms and make the process more comfortable for the patient.
For some, withdrawal symptoms during detox can be eased by prescribed medications.
Early symptoms of fentanyl and opioid withdrawal include:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Not being able to sleep
Later symptoms may include:
- Dilated pupils
- Abdominal cramping
A medical detox is typically the first step taken for someone addicted to fentanyl.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for Addiction to Fentanyl and Other Opioids
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is one of the most common forms of treatment used for those battling an addiction to opioids such as fentanyl.
MAT combines medications with behavioral health therapies to combat opioid addiction.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MAT is effective and can help some people sustain recovery.
There are three medications approved by the FDA for MAT, including buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone (Vivitrol). The FDA says these treatments are safe and effective when combined with counseling and psychosocial support.
MAT has been shown to improve patient survival, keep more people in treatment, decrease illegal opioid use, increase the ability to gain and maintain employment, and improve birth outcomes for women who have substance use disorders and are pregnant.
Call Northpoint Nebraska Today
You don’t have to battle your fentanyl addiction alone. Here at Northpoint Nebraska, you’re family, and we’re here for you.
To learn more about what we offer, call (402) 275-4333.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is used to treat fentanyl addiction?
As with other opioids, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is typically used to treat fentanyl addiction. MAT combines medications such as Vivitrol with behavioral health therapies to combat opioid addiction. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MAT is effective and can help some people sustain recovery. Treatments are safe and effective when combined with counseling and psychosocial support.
Where does fentanyl come from?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50-100 times more potent. Natural opioids come from the opium poppy plant. While some come from the plant directly, synthetic opioids are man-made. It’s usually used to treat patients with severe pain, typically after surgeries. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known as Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze.