What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that blocks pain receptors in the brain. In addition to providing pain relief, fentanyl boosts the production of the feel-good chemical dopamine. In medical settings, these physical and emotional side effects can improve the quality of life.
But in both medical and illicit settings, fentanyl also has its drawbacks.
Prescription Uses for Fentanyl
We want to believe that what our doctors recommend is always the safest option available. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when it comes to powerful opioids like fentanyl. For example, your doctor may recommend Duragesic to treat severe pain.
This high-level opioid analgesic can relieve severe pain related to a health condition, such as cancer, or something more short-term, like a painful surgery or the resetting of a broken bone. The effects of fentanyl kick in extremely quickly.
But is Duragesic addictive? What about Actiq lollipops and other forms of fentanyl? The answer is yes: all forms of fentanyl are addictive. The quick onset of pain relief can help make you more comfortable, but these side effects fade quickly and may leave you wanting more.
Both prescription and illicit versions of fentanyl can be highly addictive and trigger overwhelming fentanyl withdrawal symptoms when users abruptly stop taking it. However, illicit fentanyl use comes with additional risks, one of which is a higher risk of overdose.
Overdose Risk and Accidental Fentanyl Ingestion
Currently, synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are the main drivers of drug overdose deaths across the country. An overdose occurs when you ingest too much of something, but there are several ways that this may happen and several factors that increase the risk of overdose.
One of the biggest factors in recent spikes in accidental drug overdoses is the rising rates of dealers selling laced drugs with fentanyl in them. Counterfeit oxycodone, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs may all be laced with fentanyl without the user’s knowledge.
But fentanyl is highly potent, and spiked illicit drugs are not the only reason a user might overdose. A fentanyl high is quick and powerful but also short-lived. Tolerance can build quickly and lead users to ingest higher and higher doses to achieve the desired side effects.
This is another dangerous activity that may lead to overdose.