Last updated: 05/6/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Fentanyl, a prescription opiate drug, appears under the brand names Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze. This drug closely resembles morphine in chemical makeup but has a potency level that’s 50 to 100 times more powerful than that of morphine.
How Fentanyl Works
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl binds to the body’s own opiate cell receptor sites, located throughout the brain and central nervous system. These interactions cause cell sites to secrete large amounts of dopamine neurotransmitter chemicals. The body’s opiate sites play a pivotal role in regulating pain sensations and also emotions.
Considering fentanyl’s overall potency level, someone addicted to fentanyl and heroin will, at the very least, require some form of heroin addiction treatment in order to overcome the drugs’ hold on the body.
Potential for Addiction
Fentanyl, like other opiates, carries a very strong potential to cause addiction in those who regularly take the drug or use it in any manner other than it is prescribed. The short-acting analgesic effects of Fentanyl can create considerable drug seeking behaviors in those who quickly become bound by the desire to feel the euphoric effects of the drug once again soon after it begins to wear off. This creates a very strong risk of dependence as a vicious cycle of using, coming down, using, coming down and intermittent symptoms of withdrawal take over.
Repeat use of fentanyl, using it in a manner other than prescribed, or mixing it with other drugs can quickly lead to deadly overdose. The depressing effects of the drug will slow heartrate, reduce breathing to a minimum and could quickly result in the shutting down of one or more of the body’s vital systems.
Overdose should be immediately treated by a healthcare professional. If you suspect that someone has overdosed on fentanyl, call 911 immediately for medical help.
The dangerous effects of Fentanyl should not be overlooked—but they often are. Left untreated, fentanyl abuse can quickly lead to an addiction. Addiction often leads to overdose or untimely death. Don’t delay and take another day to risk an untimely death—call our helpline toll-free for support assistance and to find a program that’s right for you.