Today, there are many different ways that people are abusing fentanyl. Fentanyl was originally made as a short-acting opiate for surgical anesthesia and as a patch to be applied to the skin of cancer patients for pain control. The drug is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. As with any other opioid-based drug, people abuse fentanyl because of the euphoric feelings it renders, and it is highly physically and psychologically addictive.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is one of a handful of potent narcotics made to treat severe pain. Duragesic, Actiq and Sublimaze are the prescription forms of the drug. Fentanyl is very useful because it blocks pain signals while causing the brain to release large amounts of dopamine. These effects cause the user to feel relaxed and euphoric. In most cases, fentanyl is available in tablets. However, transdermal patches, injections, lollipops, or oral and nasal sprays are also available. Many drug users choose to mix fentanyl with cocaine.
Common street names for fentanyl include:
- Murder 8
- Tango and Cash
- Dance Fever
- China White
- China Girl
Ways That People are Abusing Fentanyl
There are several different ways that people are abusing fentanyl. One of the most popular forms of abuse involves squeezing the gel out of the patch and sucking on it. Others choose to chew on the patch. It is incredibly easy to overdose when abusing this drug.
Many people don’t realize how potent the drug is and accidentally consume too much. The gel from a patch isn’t meant to be sucked on, so this form of abuse causes drug users to swallow many harmful chemicals, which can cause organ damage.
Another common way people are abusing fentanyl is to place the patch between their gums and cheeks. Additionally, the other two significant ways that people abuse fentanyl are through smoking and injection. Many users will scrape the gel from the patch and smoke it the same way meth is smoked using tin foil. Fentanyl is also frequently mixed into a solution, prepped, and injected.
Even More Dangerous Ways People are Abusing Fentanyl
Even more dangerous than using fentanyl alone is mixing it with alcohol or other drugs. Now many individuals are mixing fentanyl with cocaine or with heroin. Drug dealers add illegally produced fentanyl to cocaine and heroin. This form of fentanyl is even more potent than prescription fentanyl.
Dealers add it to other drugs without the user’s knowledge. Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge results in many fatal overdoses in the United States today. The users are not expecting the drug they receive to be as potent as it is. Many heroin overdoses are a result of fentanyl being added to the heroin. However, they are being recorded as straight heroin overdoses because the coroner’s office does not check for fentanyl unless asked to do so.
Seek Professional Help for Addiction to Fentanyl
If you are struggling with addiction to fentanyl or abusing fentanyl, get professional help before it is too late. Don’t let an addiction to fentanyl or any other drug ruin the rest of your life. An inpatient addiction treatment facility can design a program to fit your individual needs and preferences.
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Nicki Lugo is currently employed as Clinical Director at Virtue Recovery Center in Las Vegas. Nicki is a licensed clinical professional counselor (CPC) in the state of Nevada and a licensed associate counselor (LAC) in the state of Arizona. She is also a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor (LCADC) in Nevada. Additionally, Nicki has specialized training in treating trauma and is a certified clinical trauma specialist (CCTS).
Nicki has earned a Master of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavioral Health from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Science in Professional Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Currently, Nicki is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling Education and Supervision at Grand Canyon University. Nicki’s research interests include the use of Positive Psychology interventions with dual diagnosis clients. Nicki hopes to contribute to the body of knowledge in treating substance use disorders.
Nicki’s long-term career goals include advancing in leadership roles within Virtue Recovery Center which is a quickly growing substance use disorder treatment facility. She hopes that one day her research and advocacy will help to save the lives of those who have been affected by substance use. She likes to say that advocacy is her passion and leadership is her superpower.