February 2019: synthetic drug Addiction

Fentanyl Addiction

Synthetic drugs are drugs that are manufactured from man-made chemicals instead of natural ingredients. Synthetic drug abuse in the United States has been increasing.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is incredibly powerful and dangerous. While similar to morphine, it is 50 to 100 times more powerful. A schedule II prescription drug, Fentanyl is classified as having a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.

It is prescribed medically to treat severe pain, or to patients with chronic pain conditions that have become physically tolerant to other opioid medications because of its intense effects. The strength of this opioid is also what makes it so dangerous. While Fentanyl abuse is dangerous for anyone, it is especially dangerous and can be fatal to anyone abusing it who doesn’t have a tolerance to opiates. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports annual overdose rates by drug class. The single largest category of overdoses in 2017 was synthetic narcotics excluding methadone (mainly Fentanyl). This was 67% more than the second largest category and almost triple the Fentanyl from 2015.

Fentanyl Effect on the Brain

Fentanyl acts and behaves as an opiate, but one that has been synthetically produced to be much, much stronger. The drug binds to the body’s opioid receptors which control not only pain, but also emotions. With continued use, the brain adapts to the drug which reduces its effects and increases the risk of addiction.

Fentanyl and other opiates also affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It has the effect of reducing heart rate and slowing breathing. Overdose occurs when the slowed breathing and respiratory rate and depressed to a level where the body either shuts down entirely or crucial organs are deprived of sufficient oxygen.

An animal study found that Fentanyl’s respiratory depression also affects the brain’s oxygen supply and temperature. This can trigger brain hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain which can cause seizure, coma and brain death) and hyperglycemia.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Fentanyl 

Symptoms of Fentanyl overdose may include: confusion, suppressed heart rate, low blood sugar, blue colored fingertips and lips can occur from a lack of blood circulation, unconsciousness or death. The symptoms of overdose are similar to other opiates, but given the strength of Fentanyl in comparison overdose is more frequent. 

There is a medication, Lofexidine, which is the first of its kind approved by the FDA to manage opiate withdrawal symptoms. Common opiate withdrawal symptoms include: pain, muscle spasms, insomnia, cold chills, feeling sick, muscular tension, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. 

In 2016, approximately 115 people died from an opioid overdose every single day. Opiate addiction, and Fentanyl even more so, is extremely dangerous. If you or someone you love is struggling with pain, with Fentanyl addiction, it’s important to get help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options that are available.

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Quick Facts on Teen Synthetic Drug Use

In 2018, a reported 3.5% of 12th graders had used K2 or Spice in the past year. (NIDA)

In 2018, a reported 6% of 12th graders had used narcotics other than heroin in their lifetime. (NIDA)

While the use of bath salts decreased in 2018 for 10th and 12th graders, use by 8th graders in the past year increased from 0.5% to 0.9%. (NIDA)

A reported 4.1% of 12th graders had used MDMA in their lifetime in 2018 data. (NIDA)

A staggering 47.8% of 12th graders had reported in 2018 that they had used illicit drugs in their lifetime. (NIDA)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are designer drugs?

Designer drugs, also known as synthetic drugs, is a term to describe manufactured drugs that are designed to circumvent laws around illegal drugs. Given that they are not natural, but manufactured, they designer drugs are often referred to as synthetic drugs. 

Between 2009 and 2014, the DEA identified between 200 and 300 new designers drugs from eight different structural classes, the vast majority of which are manufactured in China. The most common of these drugs are synthetic cannabis (spice & K2) and synthetic cathinones (bath salts). 

What is spice?

Spice and K2 are the more popular versions of synthetic cannabinoids, which get its name for using chemicals similar to those found in marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoids affect the same brain receptors as THC, the mind altering ingredient in marijuana. It’s difficult to predict the exact effect spice or K2 may have on the body as it’s unregulated and the chemical composition may change.

What are bath salts?

Bath Salts is the name given to synthetic cathinones, a manufactured drug similar to amphetamines such as meth and MDMA. They are usually found as white or brown crystals, but shouldn’t be confused with Epson salts (actual bath salts that people add to their bath to relax). Manufacturers get around health laws by branding the drug not for human consumption, although when abused, they are generally snorted, injected, or swallowed. 

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is incredibly powerful and dangerous. While similar to morphine, it is 50 to 100 times more powerful. A schedule II prescription drug, Fentanyl is classified as having a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.

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If you think you have an Adderall addiction, our experienced team can offer help at one of our modern locations in Colorado. Adderall addiction can be difficult to overcome by yourself. The first step is reaching out. We help people from across the United States get the help they need. Contact us today if you need help or would like more information. 

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