Fentanyl is a powerful opioid medication with several legitimate uses, including pain management after surgery and in cancer patients. Although fentanyl is legal when prescribed by a medical professional, many people have started using it recreationally, leading to an increased number of opioid overdoses each year. Fentanyl is dangerous because it’s extremely potent — the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that it’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. If you’re struggling to overcome a fentanyl addiction, Virtue Recovery Center can help.


Fentanyl is typically prescribed for people who have severe pain that isn’t well-controlled with other medications. It can also be used to treat pain in people who’ve developed a tolerance to other pain relievers. When used legitimately, fentanyl is available as an injection, a lozenge and a skin patch. Fentanyl is a partial opioid agonist, which means it works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. This causes a wide range of side effects, including drowsiness, confusion and a sense of extreme happiness.

Police officers and addiction treatment professionals are concerned about fentanyl use because drug dealers have started making their own fentanyl in labs. Illegal fentanyl may be contaminated with other substances, increasing the risk of serious side effects. It can also be mixed into heroin, cocaine and other illicit substances, resulting in an increased risk of overdose. Lab-created fentanyl may be put into nasal sprays and eye droppers, shaped into pills that look like other medications or sold in powder form. Whether fentanyl is obtained legally or illegally, its addictive properties make it difficult to stop using, compelling many people to seek treatment.

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How Fentanyl Affects the Body

Fentanyl produces a wide range of physical and psychological side effects. People who use fentanyl regularly may experience nausea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, urinary retention and constriction of the pupils. In some cases, fentanyl causes respiratory depression, which slows down a person’s breathing rate and may lead to shortness of breath, headaches or seizures. Psychological effects of fentanyl include euphoria, an immediate sense of relaxation and mental confusion.

Fentanyl affects everyone differently, so there’s no way to predict what will happen after taking a single dose of the drug. Some people feel tired and confused, while others experience dangerous physical side effects. Fentanyl is even more dangerous when combined with alcohol and other drugs. That’s why it’s so important to seek treatment for fentanyl abuse and other addictions.

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Options

Medical Detoxification (Detox)

Stopping fentanyl use can cause serious side effects, so it’s important for people struggling with substance abuse to get professional help. In a medical detox program, an experienced treatment provider monitors patients as they eliminate fentanyl and other substances from their bodies. Staff members take each patient’s vital signs regularly to make sure no one is at risk of a medical emergency associated with severe fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. Some patients are even given medications to help them through the worst of the detox process, ensuring they’re healthy enough to start residential treatment. Anyone experiencing withdrawal symptoms should consider medical detox before any other type of treatment for substance abuse.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Medical detox can help patients cope with the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Mood changes
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Difficulty sleeping
High angle view of hands of people in group therapy at a fentanyl rehab center

Residential Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Once a patient’s opioid withdrawal symptoms have been managed appropriately, residential treatment is typically the next step. Although the terms inpatient treatment and residential treatment are often used interchangeably, there are some subtle differences. Inpatient treatment is provided in a separate unit of a hospital, requiring patients to stay in a clinical environment for several weeks. In contrast, residential treatment occurs in an environment that’s similar to a private home. Patients tend to feel more comfortable in a residential environment than in a clinical one.

Virtue Recovery Center offers personalized treatment for fentanyl abuse and other types of addiction. Our treatment center is a home away from home for people recovering from substance use disorder, as we have a team of experienced addiction specialists available to provide counseling, medication-assisted treatment and other services. Patients receive three gourmet meals per day and have regular opportunities to exercise and meditate, ensuring their bodies are strong enough to recover from opioid use disorder. Every treatment plan is customized to include the therapeutic interventions most likely to help a patient overcome fentanyl dependency.

Virtue Recovery Center offers the following treatment types at its residential fentanyl treatment facility:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Addiction-related medical care
  • Treatment for co-occurring disorders
  • Medication management

Outpatient Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

Some patients can’t enter a residential fentanyl treatment program due to financial concerns or personal commitments. For example, it may be difficult to arrange for childcare or get approved for a leave of absence from work. These patients can still receive fentanyl treatment by participating in outpatient programs, which provide access to support groups and several types of therapy, ensuring patients have the support they need to stop using fentanyl and other substances.

Medications for Fentanyl Addiction

Medication-assisted treatment is also an option for patients struggling with a fentanyl addiction. The FDA has approved three medications to help people stop using opioids and start recovering from substance use disorder: buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone. Buprenorphine controls withdrawal symptoms and reduces the potential for opioid misuse, while methadone reduces opioid cravings and blocks the effects of opioids on the central nervous system. Naltrexone can be used to treat opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder, as it blocks opioid receptors and reduces cravings. These medications should be used under careful supervision.


Virtue Recovery Center offers compassionate care to patients with addictions to fentanyl and other substances. If you’re ready to stop using fentanyl, repair broken relationships and take complete control of your life, call (877) 244-3250 to speak with one of our admissions coordinators. Help is just a phone call away.

CALL 866-461-3339