How Does Fentanyl Kill You?

How Does Fentanyl Kill You

Answers About Fentanyl Lethality and Overdose Potential

Struggling with a fentanyl addiction is a life-threatening condition and can be extremely dangerous. More so than even opioid addiction. Illicit fentanyl has become much more common on the street and it has caused overdoses to skyrocket. But how does fentanyl kill you, exactly?

Despite the dangers, there are ways to address a fentanyl addiction and get the help that you need.

I entered Pathfinders Recovery Center for treatment after multiple overdoses and coming as close to death as one can with fentanyl. Drug abuse is a brutal condition to combat, but dealing with a drug like fentanyl requires a whole different level of addiction treatment.

Pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicit fentanyl are both deadly and can be abused just like any other drugs. With the rise of opioid abuse in this country, drug dealers have found new ways to cut these drugs, and fentanyl typically is used in this process. A lot of people who ingest fentanyl don’t even realize they are taking such a deadly drug.

Keep reading to find answers to how does fentanyl kill you, and how Pathfinders Recovery can offer you the same sort of foundation for sobriety that I found with their help.

The Rise Of Fentanyl Use and Fentanyl Overdoses

How long fentanyl stays in your system depends on your level of addiction and your body mass. Pharmaceutical fentanyl in pill form can take minutes before you feel the effects, while a fentanyl patch can one to two days to take effect. Fentanyl is usually only prescribed to people with severe pain associated with cancer and other extreme illnesses.

Many drug tests don’t detect fentanyl, and a separate test may be required to detect it. With a drug that’s manufactured to treat severe pain, it’s no wonder that when taken recreationally it can be dangerous. Because it’s used to treat chronic pain, it is easily abused. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is fifty to one hundred times more powerful than morphine.

Because of the rise of fentanyl, many addiction treatment programs are designed to treat that specific addiction. Because fentanyl is such a potent synthetic opioid, intervening in a fentanyl addiction is a life or death situation. The world of drug abuse changes over time, and new substances make their way onto the market all the time. No one has ever seen anything like the rise of fentanyl.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

A fentanyl withdrawal is very similar to opiate withdrawal symptoms. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, and respiratory changes. These withdrawal symptoms vary in severity depending on a multitude of factors. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can persist for up to two weeks.

Plenty of other drugs come with very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, but opioids and synthetic opioids like fentanyl are particularly rough. I used heroin for a number of years and dabbled here and there with fentanyl. Even though I knew how dangerous it was, my fentanyl abuse continued and led me down the darkest path I’ve ever been down.

My fentanyl use messed with every part of my body. My liver function was affected, and I suffered from respiratory depression and shallow breathing. Even heavy users of opioids don’t experience the difficulty that fentanyl abuse causes. When I began taking fentanyl, my body was already in a rough spot because of my heroin abuse.

How To Detect Fentanyl Through Drug Tests

Fentanyl has led to new developments in drug testing technology. Fentanyl test strips are a way to test for fentanyl and can tell you how long fentanyl can stay in your system. Fentanyl is not easily detected in urine tests, hair tests, or saliva tests. Fentanyl test strips have revolutionized the way that we test for fentanyl.

Before my fentanyl abuse, I dealt with long-lasting opioid dependence. My drug use began in my early twenties and continued until I was in my late thirties. Even though I was a substance abuse veteran, nothing could prepare me for what fentanyl did to me. Powder fentanyl is what I became addicted to, but it didn’t start there.

My first experience with fentanyl was through counterfeit pills. These are fentanyl-laced prescription drugs that are very much responsible for the rise in overdose deaths associated with this drug. It’s extremely difficult to prevent people from ingesting these pills, because, on the black market, drug users are going to do what they’re going to do.

Fentanyl can come in many different forms. There is the powder form, but there are also nasal sprays and a transdermal patch. Fentanyl powder can also be cooked down into an injectable solution. There aren’t many other substances that come in so many different forms.

When To Seek Help

Seek help for fentanyl detox

Even though I was able to hide my addiction from my loved ones, it was eating me alive inside. I suffer from a variety of mental health disorders, namely bipolar depression. This was very tricky when it came time for me to seek help. I had a lot of issues to work through beyond just my substance use.

Because I had such a severe addiction, I needed medical supervision during my detox. Getting fentanyl out of a person’s system takes a rather brutal detox process. Anyone who has been addicted to any powerful opioid will tell you how uncomfortable it is to ween yourself off of it. The side effects are crushing and can make you want to give in very easily.

When I entered rehab, I was facing potential prison time because of where my drug addiction took me. Every drug test they gave me through probation I would fail. I was given a lot of chances, but the drug testing always told the truth. I couldn’t be trusted to get help on my own.

How Does Fentanyl Kill You?

There’s no handbook for how to overcome an addiction to fentanyl. I never imagined that addiction treatment would do anything for me. Because I was so highly addicted, it seemed like it would take an act of god for me to not go back to my old ways. Drugs stay in your system longer the more you take them. It took nearly three weeks after my last dose for the drug’s half-life to dissipate.

When I finally took the last drug test that showed that I had rid of the drug from my body, it was a unique feeling. It felt like there would always be something that would come back. When you’ve quit using the drug and it still shows up in standard drug tests, it can feel like it will never go away.

There are a lot of things that got me through that initial phase of recovery. The behavioral therapies I engaged in were extremely helpful, and all the other recovering addicts I’ve met along the way have helped me stay the course. Using fentanyl as long as I did made me realize how damaged my body and my soul had become. No matter how much damage is done, you can always heal.

How To Overcome Such A Highly Addictive Drug

Overcome Fentanyl Addiction Through Group Therapy

I got used to taking drug test after drug test when I was a fentanyl addict. Through probation and jail, I was given every type of drug test you could imagine. After taking so many blood tests, urine tests, and the occasional hair test, it really makes you feel like a human experiment.

Now that I am clean, I have a much different appreciation for forensic medicine. All of the advances in drug testing and screening for other opioids have saved many lives. I consider myself a part of this process as well as I continued my sobriety journey. I’ve met all kinds of people through group therapy who have inspired me.

These groups are a wonderful collection of folks who have overcome many different addictions, from opioids to alcohol. A lot of these people are at many different stages of their recovery as well. Some of these people are still close enough to the beginning of recovery that they still experience withdrawal symptoms. The best thing that I can do is be there to support them and let them know they aren’t alone.

Finding Lasting Recovery From Fentanyl

Individual therapy as well as family therapy has worked wonders for me in my sobriety. Gone are the days when I would pray before drug tests, hoping nothing would be detected in my urine. The respiratory arrest, insomnia, and body chills are no longer there. I am no longer looking up on the internet how I can beat a drug test. I am no longer searching for how does fentanyl kill you, as I found out firsthand.

When I go to meetings, I bring a positive attitude with me. I focus on solution-based thinking as opposed to problem-based thinking. I am no longer all doom and gloom in my personal life. It’s been a long road, but I have traveled it willingly and am open to addressing whatever issues may arise in the future.

Put Worries About Drug Testing in Your Past

I am open and willing to talk about my struggle and am aware that I’m not invincible to it. I can still slip up and go back to my old routine of using drugs, getting in trouble, and being subjected to hair tests and saliva tests. Fentanyl will stay with me forever, but in a different way than it used to.

If you are struggling with fentanyl, give yourself a chance at sobriety with the program for recovery found at Pathfinders. They helped me, and I am willing to bet they will give you solid options for a different outlook on life as well!

Fentapills: Everything You Need to Know

Fentapills

How Fake Prescription Drugs Called “Fentapills” Are Contributing to Opioid Overdose Deaths

Most people have heard of fentanyl by now — however, counterfeit pills dubbed “fentapills” are the newest threat looming on the horizon. Fentapills, one of many types of unsafe street drugs, are only supporting the ongoing opioid epidemic in the country.

This epidemic has endangered millions and taken thousands of lives each year; in 2020 alone, over 48,000 drug fatalities were attributed solely to synthetic opioids.

So, what are fentapills, and what do you need to know about them? This guide will walk you through the basics and how you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

What Are Fentapills?

“Fentapill” is a combination of the words “fentanyl” and “pills” which is commonly used to refer to the large variety of non-prescription fentanyl pills produced and sold illegally. In short, fentapills are fake prescription pills that do not contain any actual medicine.

Instead of containing medication, fentapills are often made of pure fentanyl or are a mix of fentanyl and other illicit, addicting drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. These pills are widely available online, cheap, and potentially fatal — thus posing a large risk for younger people.

The Origin of Fake Fentanyl Pills

Fake fentanyl pills are largely manufactured and circulated by cartels. Most of these cartels or criminal drug networks originate from Mexico. In particular, the DEA named the Sinaloa Cartel and the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación as the primary culprits behind fentapills.

The Appearance of Fentapills

These pills are specifically manufactured to resemble legal, pharmaceutical-grade opioids. Most are designed to look like oxycodone pills, although some may also look like hydrocodone, alprazolam, or amphetamine.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has issued new warnings regarding the latest wave of fentapills that come in a medley of pastel rainbow colors, making them look more like harmless candy rather than a dangerous drug.

How to Know if Your Prescription Medications are Fake

Although they mimic the look of authentic oxycodone and other prescription opioids, fentapills do not fully emulate them. If you are worried that your or your loved one’s prescription medications may be fentapills, looking at the writing on the medicine may help.

For example, actual Oxycodone uses a specific font to mark the tablets. When compared with a fentapill sold as Oxycodone, the fake pills have a different font type, thickness, or size. The information printed or stamped on the tablets may be different, as well. Authentic prescription medications often have the brand name printed. The bottle from the pharmacy will have a description of what the medication should look like.

In general, oxycodone and other opioid tablets or pills sold in legitimate pharmacies and hospitals are likely to be safe, while any purchased from unofficial distributors are likely to be counterfeit drugs. Counterfeit drugs are often found via social media or through connections with drug dealers.

However, there are many variations of fake opioids. It’s hard to rely only on your own eyes and assumptions. If you suspect your or your loved ones may be using fentapills, it is best to reach out to our expert staff at Pathfinders Recovery Centers for guidance.

Fentanyl addiction can be overcome, and we offer a firm foundation and have seen many clients make full and lasting recoveries from even severe dependence.

Dangers of Rainbow Fentanyl or Fentapills

Dangers of Rainbow Fentanyl or Fentapills

The candy-like appearance of rainbow fentanyl opens the public to greater risks — particularly to young adults, teenagers, and even children. Some fake pills that authorities confiscated are very similar to the colors of candy hearts. As the Halloween candy season nears, such deception can potentially lead to a spike in opioid dependency, addiction, or even opioid overdose.

It is likely that they have been tinted in such a way to make them look like candy for the purposes of smuggling them easier. However, it is always possible that misplaced drugs could be mistaken for candy by unassuming children, leading to potentially tragic outcomes.

Is Rainbow Fentanyl a Risk Near Me?

Fentanyl, the primary and often only active ingredient of fentapills, is one of the most dangerous opioids. DEA laboratory tests have shown that around 4 out of 10 fakes laced with fentanyl have potentially fatal dosage. For some perspective, a deadly dose of fentanyl is only two milligrams — which is less than the lead tip of a pencil.

The innocent-looking and happy colors of rainbow fentanyl not only downplay the dangers of the addictive drug, but also make it easier to hide and distribute. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, law enforcement officers have seized rainbow fentanyl pills across 26 states since August 2022. Recently, authorities seized approximately 15,000 rainbow fentanyl pills that illegal distributors tried to transport in a Lego toy box bound for New York City.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a highly powerful synthetic opioid prescription drug. It is used in medical settings as a potent pain reliever and is generally prescribed for post-surgery pain and chronic pain. However, fentanyl is still one of the deadliest drug threats that the U.S. faces.

The dangers of fentanyl not only lie in its potency, but also in its affordability and accessibility. Since it only takes a tiny amount of fentanyl to induce a high, it can be sold cheaply. For this reason, fentanyl is also often used to cut or dilute other illegal prescription drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, without affecting the high it produces.

Illicit fentanyl is widely sold on the streets. Recently, it has also become much easier to buy fentanyl pills online. This, combined with the cheap price, makes it easier for anyone to get a hold of illegal prescription pills and potentially overdose.

Other Names for Fentanyl Pills

Illicit fentanyl pills go by many other names aside from “fentapill”. The names may depend on what prescription opioids the drug may be masquerading as:

  • Fake oxycodone fentanyl pills: blues, buttons, cotton, 30s, hillbilly heroin, muchachas
  • Fake alprazolam fentanyl pills: bars, bicycle handlebars, planks, ladders, school bus
  • Fake amphetamine fentanyl pills: a-train, Christmas trees, lid poppers, study skittles

Can You Get Addicted to Fentanyl or Fentapills?

Fentanyl or Fentapills

Yes, fentanyl is an incredibly addicting drug; it is over 50 times more potent than heroin. Unfortunately, many people succumb to drug dependence and addiction even while taking legally prescribed fentanyl.

A telling sign of fentanyl addiction is the presence of withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing or failing to take the drug. The following are some of the most common fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, which can appear within just a few hours of one’s last dose:

  • Sleep issues
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe cravings
  • Cold flashes
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Leg jitters or uncontrollable movements

How Does Fentanyl Affect Your Brain and Body?

Similar to other opioid analgesics or pain relievers, fentanyl influences the area of your brain that deals with pain and emotions. However, what gets people addicted to taking fentanyl is typically the high or feelings of euphoria it gives.

Fentapills are known to produce the following effects:

  • Relaxation
  • Sedation
  • Pain relief
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Urinary retention
  • Pupil size changes
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Fatal respiratory failure
  • Unconsciousness

Can You Overdose on Fentapills?

Fentapills Overdose

Yes, taking fentapills can quickly lead to an opioid overdose. In fact, synthetic opioids like fentanyl are the most common causes of overdose deaths. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 66% of all drug overdose deaths in 2021 were due to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

Overdosing on fentanyl can slow down breathing to a dangerous degree. This puts users at risk of fatal respiratory failure; and the lack of oxygen to the brain can cause coma, permanent brain damage, and death.

If your loved one is ever breathing too slowly and you suspect they have overdosed on fentanyl, call emergency services immediately. Prompt action and timely naloxone intervention can save lives. With help your loved one can survive a drug overdose and overcome their addiction.

Helping Yourself and Your Loved Ones Get Treatment

Drug addiction can affect anyone, including yourself, your friends, and your family — even the ones you may least expect it from. Seeking help for fentanyl addiction doesn’t have to be a draining experience.

Drug addiction is a large burden on its own — finding and receiving the treatment you need doesn’t have to be another struggle for you to bear. At Pathfinders Recovery Centers, we offer different treatment options to ensure the success of your journey to recovery.

If you or your loved one is struggling with fentanyl addiction or dependence, Pathfinders Recovery Centers in AZ and CO are here for you. Contact us today to learn more!

Rehab for First Responders

Rehab for First Responders

First responders, including law enforcement officers, search and rescue teams, firefighters, and emergency medical services teams (dispatchers and ambulance workers), are some of the first to step on the scene of disaster, accident, or emergency. These scenes present some of the most dangerous and emotionally demanding situations possible.

As a first responder, you often interact with victims needing immediate care, life support, or urgent medical help. As a first responder, your duty further involves giving emotional support to disaster survivors. In the face of these emotionally draining situations, first responders’ training requires them to maintain composure despite these demands.

A 2018 report on the mental health of responders claims that emergency medical personnel, firefighters, and police officers carry a 70%  higher mortality risk compared to workers who are non-first responders. Due to frequent exposure to work-related traumatic events, first responders are likely to develop mental health issues. Generally, the prevalence of sleep disorders, behavioral health issues, anxiety, and PTSD among first responders is greater than among the general populace.

As a first responder, or with a loved one serving in the role, you may already be familiar with these facts. Now keep reading to find out why Pathfinders should form the front line of your efforts to get lasting relief from alcohol and/or drugs!

Identifying Mental Health Issues in First Responders

Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders are often people with high-level self-esteem and are performance-driven. A first responder’s motivation is to do well and get the desirable results.

Some first responders may start to interpret issues with feelings of anxiety, isolation, or flashback as signs of weakness and may feel embarrassed to share these feelings with family or friends. In many cases, they may opt to internalize these feelings, eventually resulting in behavioral health issues. If this goes unchecked, it may lead to increased feelings of depression, leading to burnout on the job.

Here are common mental health issues among first responders:

Depression in Emergency Response Teams

Depression in Emergency Response Teams

Depression is a commonly reported mental illness issue in first responders’ professions. A case-controlled study on medical team workers who responded to the 2011 Japan earthquake indicated that 21.4% of the team suffered clinical depression.

First responders battling depression may experience feelings of sadness. They may find little or no pleasure in jobs they used to enjoy. These emotions can negatively affect their energy levels and overall well-being. Some common signs of depression may include:

1. Extreme fatigue

First responders work long shifts, but extreme fatigue may signify depression. If you’re having trouble remaining awake even after a night of good sleep, it could be depression. The key here is to identify if there’s a pattern linked to this behavior.

2. An overwhelming feeling of hopelessness or sadness

One of the most difficult things to accept as a first responder is a reality that you won’t be able to save everyone. While most first responders come to terms with this reality, those battling depression may have increased feelings of hopelessness or sadness.

3. Loss of Enthusiasm

First responders look forward to making a difference every day. However, depression can turn this enthusiasm into dread. When you find yourself starting to take unplanned off days, enthusiasm may be fading away.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Changes of appetite
  • Unexplained body aches or fatigue
  • Having difficulty making choices or focusing
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Behavioral concerns

 

People that are battling depression experience difficulty controlling negative, repetitive thoughts. The good news is that; depression can be treated. If you or your loved one is struggling with this mental health issue, it’s essential to seek help.

Substance Abuse in First Responder Professions

There’s sadly a close connection between drug and alcohol addiction and the life of first responders. Exposure to traumatic scenes while on duty can lead to the development of behavioral disorders. One such behavioral disorder is alcohol use disorder.

Its reported alcohol abuse among first responders is greater than that of the general population. First responders use alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism.

First responders who develop substance abuse might show abrupt changes in their behavior, and these negative changes can impact their self-esteem and motivation.

What are the Warning Signs of Substance Abuse?

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

Some of the warning signs include:

  • Unexplained absence from work
  • Inability to focus or forgetfulness
  • Hyperactivity or extreme lethargy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Challenges with physical co-ordination

 

Many first responders suffering from alcohol use disorder experience social stigma. In most cases, they fear being judged if discovered. With the right care and support, sustained recovery is entirely possible.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in First Responders

Considering the severity and frequency of traumatic scenes, it’s not shocking that first responders face a significant risk of suffering PTSD.

Occupational-specific risk factors that contribute to PTSD among first responders include:

  • Hostile occupational environments including risk for physical injury and exposure to excessive smoke, heat, or fire.
  • Traumatic events encountered on the line of duty
  • Types of traumatic events
  • Routine occupational stress
  • Lack of adequate workplace social support
  • Irregular sleep patterns may compromise resilience in the face of a traumatic experience.

 

PTSD is a severe mental health condition that can impact every aspect of a first responder’s life. A Journal of Emergency Medical Services report claims that PTSD is heavily unreported among the first responders’ community because it’s regarded as a weakness.

Common signs of PTSD among first responders include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of interest at work
  • Intrusive dreams, flashbacks, or memories of a specific incident
  • Distancing from family and friends
  • Overwhelming fear
  • A feeling of guilt or self-esteem
  • Inability to focus
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Self-destructive or dangerous behavior

Is Rehab Important for First Responders?

Getting specialized treatment for first responders is essential for recovery. A responder addiction treatment program helps those who have suffered work-related traumatic events quickly get the help they need. The program addresses underlying mental health issues and shapes the path to sustained recovery.

Pathfinders Recovery Centers use an integrated addiction treatment approach that combines licensed professionals from different backgrounds to treat a first responder. These specialists form a multidisciplinary team that meets to discuss patients’ treatment targets and progress and then meets separately with the patient to discuss specific issues during admission process.

The multidisciplinary team can include therapists, counselors, physicians, and other specialists who combine their expertise to offer best treatment for first responders. The drug and alcohol addiction treatment process starts with an overall assessment by trained professionals such as psychologists to evaluate you at all levels, effectively diagnose underlying issues, and develop a holistic addiction treatment for you.

Mental health condition treatment is a long-term commitment, and it’s overall in nature since it addresses your social, psychological, and physical needs. This means that addiction treatment for first responders will often include medications, therapy, family support, and other necessary interventions. For patients with co-occurring PTSD and behavioral health disorders, the first treatment steps would most likely involve using a medical detox program followed by an intensive outpatient or inpatient program.

Using medications for addiction treatment can help the patient get through chronic pain, reduce cravings and manage symptoms like anxiety. However, medications don’t address the underlying causes of first responders’ co-occurring disorders and can’t prepare them for behavior adjustments.

Specific Treatment Goals for First Responders

Treatment Goals for First Responders

  • Helping first responders express their needs in a way that doesn’t make them feel inadequate or exposed
  • The development of interests and hobbies outside of work to help first responders deal with work-related traumatic events
  • The development of a reliable social support system that can assist first responders
  • Continued support after the program enables first responders to identify signs of substance use disorders and traumatic stress.

 

Responders with co-occurring PTSD and alcohol use disorder need to remain in the responders addiction treatment program long enough to attain the necessary skills to avoid relapse. For sustained recovery, it’s essential to identify situations that can increase the possibility of relapse and recognize the signs of relapse.

How Can You Support a Loved One Struggling with a Mental Health Issue?

If your loved one is struggling with one of these first responder mental health issues, you can help them by being there for them.

Here are some tips:

#Tip 1- Listen to Them

Sometimes, your loved ones don’t know if they need help. It’s difficult for most first responders to accept that they have a mental health problem. If your loved one is having a hard time, sit down and listen to them.

#Tip 2 Seek Help

Don’t be ashamed to seek professional help. It’s okay to be uncomfortable when you shift position from a person giving help to one receiving it. If you join our first responders’ addiction treatment center program, you can view it as another professional network designed to help you exceed in your position even more than you currently do.

Start Your Healing Journey Today at Pathfinders

If you or your loved one needs help, Pathfinders Recovery Centers (AZ &CO) is here for you. Our top-notch mental health and addiction treatment center is the right place to start your healing journey. Enjoy a stress-free first responder addiction treatment program as you receive a personalized responders addiction treatment plan.

Contact us today if you’re ready to break free from a dangerous chain of substance abuse. We look forward to welcoming you.

PPO Insurance Rehab

PPO insurance rehab

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) forms of insurance is widely recognized as a superior alternative to health maintenance organization (HMO) and exclusive provider organization (EPO) plans.

In most cases, a referral from your primary care physician is not necessary when using a PPO health insurance plan to see a specialist. In other words, if you have PPO insurance, you can go to whatever doctor or “PPO insurance rehab” you like as long as they accept your plan.

Read on to learn why it’s important to take advantage of your PPO policy’s coverage for addiction treatment and how to do it in a way that protects your privacy and your health.

Will PPO Insurance Cover Substance Abuse Treatment?

PPO insurance plans, like those from most other carriers, often include coverage for a variety of drug and alcohol rehab centers. The reason for this is the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2006.

As a result of this legislation, mental health and substance abuse services are required to be included in health insurance plans. In most cases, your health insurance will cover a wide range of alcohol and drug rehab programs and levels of care. This includes medically-assisted detox, inpatient residential treatment, outpatient treatment programs, and partial hospitalization programs.

Although PPO plans may not provide complete coverage for an extensive rehabilitation stay, they can still help you save money and provide you more flexibility in choosing your healthcare providers and the course of treatment you want to follow.

Why Is PPO Coverage So Efficient for Substance Abuse Coverage?

Substance Abuse

People with substance abuse problems benefit greatly from the 24-hour supervision and rigorous program structure offered by inpatient and residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers.

By entering inpatient treatment, patients are shielded from the stresses and temptations of the outside world, which may otherwise threaten their sobriety. They will have a much lower chance of relapsing and will have an easier time recovering if this choice is made.

This level of drug and alcohol treatment will likely also include different behavioral treatments and holistic recovery services for people battling an underlying mental health challenge, as well as give a holistic approach to therapy for clients who wish to participate in a more natural option.

Many insurance companies, including a Preferred Provider Organization that yields PPO plans, will provide less coverage for inpatient treatment in light of these supplementary benefits. This implies that if you want to rehabilitate in a residential treatment center, you may have to pay more money out of pocket.

Does PPO Cover Outpatient Treatment?

A lot of people who are trying to overcome their addiction prefer to do it through outpatient programs. While less intensive and organized than inpatient treatments, PPO coverage expands with outpatient care, reducing the client’s out-of-pocket costs.

In addition, as you won’t have to relocate to attend treatment, you’ll be able to keep up with your obligations at home, work, and school while still getting the help you need for your substance abuse issue.

Group therapy, recovery support groups, and skill-building programs are common components of outpatient treatment plans. Care at this level may still need some out-of-pocket expenses, but it will be far more cost-effective than hospitalization.

How Long of a Stay Do PPO Plans Cover During Rehab?

PPO Plans

How long someone stays in rehab for substance abuse depends on several variables. Possible factors that may impede a person’s ability to recover from addiction include the severity of their condition, the nature of the treatment program, and any barriers they face on a personal level.

Many people lack the resources (both time and money) to get the help they need for their drug use disorder, which places them in a position where they cannot recover fully from their addiction. This might discourage people from getting help from professionals to solve their substance misuse problems.

Inpatient care typically lasts between 30 and 105 days, whereas outpatient programs often last around 120 days. Some patients, in their search for the most appropriate degree of care, go to both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers.

If the healthcare practitioner providing the therapy is not part of the insurance company’s network, the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses will likely exceed the maximum amount that the insurance company would pay. Insurance companies that operate on a PPO model may be more accommodating when it comes to covering addiction treatment.

In some cases, PPO insurance carriers will pay for detox, inpatient, and outpatient services from non-network treatment facilities, even if the patient’s private insurance company would not.

The client may be responsible for paying any additional fees that aren’t covered by insurance. Still, this will be far less expensive than providing healthcare with less adaptable insurance or no healthcare financing at all.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Coverage with a PPO Plan

Dual diagnosis therapy, or the combination of several behavioral and holistic treatments, is a crucial part of addiction treatment, as stated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).

This paves the way for healthcare practitioners to adopt a holistic view of their drug and alcohol addiction therapy, treating not just the addiction but also the factors that led to it.

Essential health benefits, such as dual diagnosis services and access to select deluxe treatments, may be included with these suppliers under a PPO insurance plan. These facilities will, of course, charge more than average for rehabilitation services.

This is because they will provide extra luxuries that may not be available through other treatment programs, such as diverse sporting services and facilities, equestrian therapy, art therapy, aromatherapy, and spa services.

While obviously more tempting and pleasant than other treatment centers may seem, luxury rehab facilities are not a necessary level of care for addiction recovery. Those without the financial means to pay for these luxuries can get by just fine with the basic levels of care.

Paying for Services Not Covered by PPO Insurance

Services Not Covered by PPO Insurance

Sadly, many alcoholics and addicts won’t get assistance because they can’t afford it. For this reason, a solid health insurance plan might be crucial to a person’s chances of beating their addiction for good.

However, it’s possible that some people won’t ever be able to afford dependable insurance. Fortunately, there are a number of options for covering the cost of professional substance misuse treatment that do not involve insurance or supplement what insurance does not cover.

Installment arrangements are by far the most common. These allow those in recovery to spread out the cost of their therapy over time, rather than having to come up with the full amount at once. This may be a huge relief to many people’s wallets as they attempt to pay for rehabilitation.

Another option is to ask close friends, relatives, or other loved ones to help out financially. A tight network of people who care about the individual’s well-being can lessen the financial burden of necessary medical care.

Having confidence in your ability to afford expert help to overcome drug and alcohol dependence by knowing what kinds of addiction treatment services are covered by your PPO insurance plan and how much coverage you will actually be able to obtain is crucial.

Getting Started With Insurance Coverage for Rehab

While each insurance provider has its own set of rules that must be met before they can issue a policy, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of being accepted.

If you do not yet have a PPO policy, the Affordable Care Act and the ACA Marketplace can be a good starting place for your search. When searching, remember that PPO insurance coverage is generally the best option for both in-network rehab options as well as an out of network provider.

Consult Your Physician

You can avoid unnecessary bother with your insurance provider by requesting a reference from your primary care physician to the institution of your choice.

Check Your Insurance

Although most rehabilitation centers take all major PPO plans, you should double-check that the facility you’re considering is indeed an in-network provider with your insurance company to avoid any unwanted out-of-network charges.

Even if rehab is not in your insurance network, you may still be eligible for some financial assistance. Your out-of-pocket costs can be determined with the aid of customer support.

Contact the Help Desk

Reviewing your documents alone may not always help you understand what is and is not covered. In this situation, feel free to call your insurance provider and ask any questions you may have, and remind them you would like to attend Pathfinders and find out any associated costs.

Our Admissions team is also always happy to assist with questions about your PPO insurance coverage and can let you know out-of-pocket costs within minutes.

Important PPO Insurance Coverage Terms to Remember

You should be able to grasp the language used by insurance companies in order to understand how to use your insurance to assist pay for rehabilitation treatments.

To help you better understand discussions regarding insurance, we’ve included definitions of several often used phrases below.

Deductible

You will have to pay this amount out of pocket before your insurance company begins paying anything. Payment of this amount is required in addition to your regular premium; your regular premium will not be deducted from this total.

In most plans, once you’ve met your yearly deductible, your insurance will begin paying a certain percentage of covered expenses.

Premium

This is the regular payment you make to keep your insurance in force. No, it won’t affect your deductible at all, as we’ve already established, but a PPO plan premium can tend to be a bit higher than other sorts of coverage.

Copay

A copayment, or “copay,” is a modest, predetermined sum of money that is due at the time of service. Depending on your insurance and the service you’ve requested for your visit, the fee might be anywhere from $5 to $75.

As with your premium, this contribution will not be applied to your yearly deductible.

Co-insurance

After your deductible is met, your insurance company will reimburse this amount. While some plans cover all of a patient’s expenses, others may only pay for a certain percentage, leaving the patient to foot the bill for the rest.

In-network

PPO Insurance Coverage Terms to Remember

Providers who are “in-network” with your insurance plan have bargained for lower fees on your behalf. In most cases, you may save the most money on medical treatment by sticking with providers that are part of your insurance network.

Out-of-pocket

You will frequently hear this as either “out-of-pocket expenses” or “out-of-pocket maximum.”

The term “out-of-pocket expenditures” describes the amount of money you will have to spend out of cash for medical treatment.

The greatest amount you’ll have to spend out of cash for medical care is known as the “out-of-pocket maximum.” After this limit is met, your PPO will pay 100% of the covered expenses.

An Addiction Treatment Center Made for Your Lasting Recovery

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, our program is covered by most major PPO providers. In addition, we also take a large range of different insurance plans, so we’re likely to cover the cost of your treatment.

For more information regarding coverage of your stay or to speak with our admissions team, contact Pathfinders Recovery today!

 

What Does Meth Look Like

What Does Meth Look Like

Identifying the Signs of Methamphetamine Use

Methamphetamine, or meth, is one of America’s most notorious addictive substances. Use and manufacture of the drug are depicted in TV shows and movies with some regularity. These portrayals sometimes take a romantic or glamorous form. However, there is nothing glamorous about meth use. Anyone who consumes the drug can suffer a variety of serious health harms. Those harms include addiction and overdose. They also include other kinds of potentially lasting damage to your mental and physical functions.

Concerned that someone you know is using meth? Awareness of what the drug looks like can help you spot a potential problem. Knowledge of meth’s characteristic odors can also be important. The same holds true for the settings in which manufacture and use of the drug often occur. If you notice any signs of meth consumption, it might be time seek help for your affected friend or loved one.

What Is Meth?

What is meth? In other words, how is meth categorized and classified by scientists and doctors? Methamphetamine belongs to the amphetamine family of substances. Like all amphetamines, meth is a stimulant. This means that it speeds up the usual rate of activity in nerve cells in your:

  • Brain
  • Spinal cord

Together, these two structures form your central nervous system. Meth also speeds up the activity rate in your sympathetic nervous system. This system triggers involuntary activation of your “fight-or-flight” response. Things affected by that response include your:

  • Heart rate
  • Core body temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Digestive system
  • Level of sweat production

The vast majority of the meth distributed and sold in America is made illegally. A small percentage of the drug is sold legally as the medication Desoxyn. Today, most meth comes from Mexico. Hidden or clandestine labs also operate in various parts of the U.S.

What Does Meth Look Like

Not all methamphetamine looks the same. Instead, there are three common forms of meth: powder, base and crystal. Meth powder, sometimes referred to as speed, typically has a whitish or off-white color. It can be compacted under pressure to form pills.

Methamphetamine base is a brown, yellow or white substance with an oily or damp texture. Even excluding differences in color, batches of this substance are not uniform in appearance. Instead, base may look waxy or paste-like. Crystal gets its name from its crystalline or rock-like appearance. This form of meth is often translucent, which means that light passes through out. Crystal meth may also have a more solid, whitish color.

What Does Meth Smell Like When Smoked

What Does Meth Smell Like When Smoked

Meth powder and base are not typically smoked. However, users can smoke the crystal version of the drug. What does meth smell like when it’s smoked? There is no single answer to this question. Why not? Meth labs can use a variety of chemicals to manufacture the drug. In turn, these chemicals have an impact on how it smells when burned.

Meth smoke can have a non-specific chemical-like odor. It may also smell more specifically like household cleaning products. In addition, meth smoke can have an odor similar to burning or burnt plastic. No matter the particular odor you smell, one thing is certain. Burning meth has a strong scent that will likely stand out and grab your attention.

What Does Meth Taste Like

Meth can also vary substantially in its taste. Some users of the drug describe its powder or pill form as tasting bitter. All forms of meth may also taste like the chemicals used to make them. In addition, flavoring agents are sometimes added to the drug. These agents help reduce the unpleasant taste of methamphetamine. They may also be used to help the drug seem more generally appealing.

What Does Meth Paraphernalia Look Like

When it comes to drugs, paraphernalia is a term with multiple meanings. It can refer to the equipment involved in the manufacture of illegal substances. It can also refer to anything used to hide illegal substances or consume them.

What does meth paraphernalia look like? Perhaps the most well-known item is a metal or glass pipe used to smoke the crystal form of the drug. You may also notice glass bongs that serve the same purpose.

A wide range of paraphernalia are associated with making meth in clandestine labs. Common examples include:

  • Respirator masks
  • Rubber gloves
  • Various kinds of glassware
  • Hoses made from rubber or plastic
  • Lithium batteries

 

A wide assortment of chemicals are also used to make illegal meth. The list of these chemicals includes things such as:

  • Hydrochloric, muriatic or sulfuric acid
  • Camping fuel
  • Pseudoephedrine- or ephedrine-based cold tablets or capsules
  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Lithium extracted from batteries
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lye
  • Ether

All of these substances have a legal, legitimate use. It is only their use in meth manufacture that makes them illegal.

How to Recognize the Signs of Meth Cooking

How to Recognize the Signs of Meth Cooking

Clandestine meth labs are makeshift facilities designed to produce, or cook, illegal forms of the drug. These labs can be set up anyplace where there is room for them to fit. No matter where you live, you may find one on your street or in your neighborhood or area.

What are the signs of a meth cooking operation? Depending on your situation, you may notice any number of things. One potential telltale sign is a smell in the air that resembles rotten eggs, cat urine or ammonia. You may also notice a house or shed with covered or blacked out windows. Yard or vegetation damage caused by the burning or dumping of chemicals is another possible indicator.

Many meth labs are protected by multiple layers of security. Measures in place may include “No Trespassing” signs and strategically located outdoor cameras or monitors. In addition, they may include high fences and/or guard dogs.

Certain kinds of trash can also point to the presence of a meth cooking operation. Items you may spot include:

  • Large numbers of cold tablet packages
  • Coffee filters that are stained or coated in a powdery substance
  • Broken-down lithium batteries
  • Piles of empty chemical containers
  • Plastic bottles with holes punched into them
  • Used rubber gloves
  • Discarded pieces of hose or plastic

 

Tweaking and Other Meth Warning Signs

Even without smelling anything or seeing actual meth, you may be able to tell if someone is using the drug. One classic sign is “tweaking.” This term refers to a grouping of symptoms that can occur after a period of heavy meth use. Such symptoms may include:

  • Temporary loss of the ability to experience meth’s typical drug effects
  • Extreme agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • A powerful urge to use more meth
  • Violent outbursts
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusional thinking

 

The signs of tweaking overlap in many ways with the effects of meth withdrawal. Other potential signs that someone you know is withdrawing from the drug include:

  • A depressed, irritable or anxious mental state
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of physical energy
  • Unusual slowing down or speeding up of their physical or mental reflexes

 

Withdrawal is just one sign that a person who uses meth has become addicted to the drug. Other indicators of addiction include:

  • Losing control over how much meth they use, or how often they use it
  • Having a routine that revolves around obtaining meth, using it and recovering from
  • Turning down other activities in favor of using meth
  • Not halting a pattern of meth use that clearly causes them significant harm
  • Developing a rising tolerance to meth’s stimulant effects

How to Help a Loved One Using Meth

How to Help a Loved One Using Meth

The best thing you can do for a loved one using meth is encourage them to enter a treatment program. This is not always easy to do. Many people who regularly use the drug have undergone profound mental and emotional changes. These changes may leave them unable to think clearly or rationally. A long-term user of meth may also be paranoid, delusional or violent. In addition, like anyone else affected by addiction, they may be in denial about their condition.

Try to approach the topic of seeking treatment as gently as possible. It helps to plan this kind of conversation in advance. It also helps to seek the advice of addiction specialists or intervention counselors.

Forms of Effective Treatment for Meth Addiction

Effective treatment for meth addiction is psychotherapy-based. The treatments of choice are behavioral therapies. Therapies of this type help your loved one change behaviors that support ongoing addiction. One option, cognitive behavioral therapy, is specifically known to help people with meth-related problems. Other therapies used to treat stimulant addiction in general include:

  • Contingency management
  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • The Matrix Model

 

Family therapy may also be used in the treatment of all forms of substance addiction.

Each form of therapy provides its own treatment benefits. The right combination of options can help your loved one do things such as:

  • Reduce their cravings for meth
  • Cope with stressful situations that may increase their cravings
  • Stay sober during and after treatment
  • Add a self-help group to their larger meth recovery plan

Learn More About Meth and Effective Addiction Treatment at Pathfinders

If you think someone you know is using meth, you may have a number of pressing questions. For example, what does meth look like? What does it smell like? How can you tell if some is cooking meth? What are the signs of meth addiction?

Get answers to these important questions at Pathfinders. With our help, you can detect the potential signs that your friend or family member is using meth. Pathfinders is also a premier provider of treatment for methamphetamine addiction. No matter the extent of your loved one’s addiction symptoms, we offer customized recovery options that suit their needs. To learn more about our comprehensive meth program, call us today.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?

Answers About Fentanyl Addiction and Drug Test Concerns

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a schedule II prescription drug, and it is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. Fentanyl can be prescribed as a patch, lozenge, or injection, and it is also available illegally as a white powder or in pill form. But how long does fentanyl stay in your system? Keep reading and we will cover this in detail.

People who misuse fentanyl by taking it without a prescription or by taking it in a way other than prescribed are at risk of overdose and death. When misused, fentanyl can stay in your system for up to 72 hours.

Currently, this deadly drug is sweeping every neighborhood in America, recently causing a new record high for overdose deaths among users. This marks another year in which the United States has seen record deaths, having bested the previous totals for at least the last half-decade.

Aside from its deadly properties, the average citizen knows very little about fentanyl. One of the most effective ways to mitigate the risks associated with any deadly force is to raise awareness and educate the public regarding different talking points, including withdrawal, dependence, and other essential elements. Let’s look a little closer at what exactly fentanyl is and its effects on the individuals who abuse it.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a type of opioid analgesic, also known as a narcotic. It’s made from the powdered sap of the opium poppy and is mainly used to relieve pain. Because it’s so powerful, it’s often mixed with other drugs or sold on its own. It came into use on the illegal market because it’s relatively easy to produce and sells well on the black market.

At wholesale prices, it’s also much cheaper than street heroin for several reasons. Number one, poppy plants don’t require any waiting period to approach a harvest point. This cuts off a considerable amount of time and ramps up production.

Second, because it’s a synthetic product, there are no limits to the amount of this drug chemists can manufacture. In the past, significant distributors were forced to order the product from China, which was the hub for most of the world’s fentanyl. However, this would all change after the Mexican cartels learned how to manufacture their own product.

Currently, the tyrannical Mexican drug cartels produce fentanyl in our backyard. On border cities throughout the southern United States, just on the other side, are massive labs producing some of the world’s most potent fentanyl. This means there’s an almost infinite supply that dealers can get their hands on. With the expertise of the veteran drug smugglers these cartels already employ, fentanyl flows onto the streets of America uninhibited, with no end to the crisis in sight.

What makes fentanyl so deadly is its incredible potency and how it acts on the brain and body. Miniscule amounts are deadly for the novice user, proved by the swollen overdose death numbers that have surpassed the six-figure mark.

Let’s take a look into the effects of fentanyl from the first-person point of view. How does the user feel after taking a dose of fentanyl?

The Effects of Fentanyl

The Effects of Fentanyl

Anybody who has ever researched fentanyl has probably read a generic list of the effects. However, this doesn’t tell us much about the user’s experience, which is required to gain a perspective on this deadly addiction. From a user’s viewpoint, let’s look at the effects of fentanyl firsthand.

1. Immediately After Injection

The user will feel an immediate rush about two seconds after injecting the drug. After about five seconds, the user develops the feeling of “pins and needles” poking them throughout their body. This feeling results from the receptors responding to the painkilling properties of the drug.

2. Initial Effects

After 30 to 45 seconds, the user will feel warm and sometimes sweat at higher doses. These could also be the beginning moments of an overdose.

3. Peak Period

A wave of euphoria rushes over the user as they begin feeling the peak effects of the drug. Their breathing is slowed down, followed by the heart and other functions of the body. At this point, respiratory depression can take hold because of toxicity, leaving the user in and out of consciousness.

Some users experience nausea and may even vomit because of how the drug interacts with the digestive system. Intense itching ensues for many users and is one of the driving forces of the wounds of many opioid addicts.

4. Coming Down

After the peak period, which usually lasts two to three hours, the user will begin feeling the comedown. They may still be groggy and even fall asleep for an extended period. Some users will experience mood swings, and headaches because of light sensitivity are common.

This assumes the user didn’t overdose during the previous phases of the experience. The chances of overdose are incredibly high, and it’s essential to understand the risks of overdose with fentanyl.

What is the Risk of Overdose with Fentanyl?

Before the fentanyl epidemic, we dealt with the heroin epidemic. Before heroin, we dealt with the opioid painkiller epidemic. These epidemics led to record overdose deaths, but they were nothing compared to the numbers caused by fentanyl.

The risk of overdose with fentanyl is higher than any other drug we’ve ever seen. Most overdose deaths occur in situations where users get way more than they bargained for.

Heroin users purchase a bag of what they think is unadulterated heroin. However, dealers looking to stretch their profits incorporate fentanyl into the mix or, in some instances, replace the heroin with pure fentanyl.

Even a veteran heroin user with what’s considered a high tolerance will quickly succumb to the bad batch of heroin if there’s enough fentanyl included – and it doesn’t take much. For someone not used to injecting or snorting fentanyl regularly, a dose no more significant than the size of a pinch of salt is enough to send them to the point of no return.

One of the significant risks of overdose with fentanyl is its ability to stand up to the overdose reversal drug Narcan. In the past, most users who required Narcan could rely on one dose to bring them out of respiratory arrest and back from the brink of death. Sporadic cases MIGHT have required two doses, but these were only in the case of a massive injection of heroin.

After fentanyl hit the scene, paramedics began noticing something they hadn’t seen before. Overdose victims were hit with Narcan two, three, and four times and still weren’t coming out of the overdose fast enough. It’s not uncommon to hear about fentanyl overdose victims needing five and six doses of Narcan to keep them from dying.

Even homes or individuals who usually carry Narcan aren’t equipped with that many doses – a prepared heroin user might take two or three doses on them in most cases. If individuals in the immediate company of someone don’t have enough Narcan to reverse the overdose effects, the ambulance won’t arrive on time.

Situations like the one described above are a driving factor in dozens of fentanyl overdose deaths each day. What’s being done to mitigate situations like this?

For starters, test strips exist on the market to try and filter out unwanted fentanyl. This may be the most effective approach instead of arresting and fighting a drug war the government can’t win.

Drug Testing for Fentanyl

Instead of choosing to approach the fentanyl epidemic with an aggressive approach, many cities and states are participating in what’s known as harm reduction. Many places already have a needle exchange program, which many people are already familiar with.

Needle exchange programs, which are still controversial in some forums, aim to reduce injury and the spread of disease among IV drug users. These programs consist of mobile volunteers who set up random hubs on different days throughout urban areas, passing out clean needles, Narcan, and other harm-reduction supplies.

Since FTS programs’ inception and widespread availability, some alarming trends have surfaced. An incredibly high number of random batches of narcotics were found to contain lethal amounts of fentanyl – and it wasn’t just heroin.

Batches from marijuana to methamphetamine and cocaine have all been found to contain fentanyl. In addition, several fatal overdose cases are to blame for these drugs containing adulterants, unbeknownst to the user.

These deaths were driving factors in the push to make FTS available whenever drug consumption is possible. Many of the same harm reduction groups that distribute Narcan and syringes have begun adding these fentanyl test strips to their repertoire.

When Will Fentanyl Begin to Show Up On a Test?

When Will Fentanyl Begin to Show Up On a Test

Initially, the fentanyl test strips were designed for use in urine analysis tests for probation and parole officers to use on clients. However, because fentanyl can be added to the standard panel-drug test with other narcotics, the exclusively-for-fentanyl test strips could serve in different ways.

How does fentanyl show up on drug tests compared to other opioids? And does this have any effect on its potency or risk for addiction?

Fentanyl does have a shorter half-life than heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs. However, this doesn’t relieve the withdrawal symptoms and, if anything drives them to come on faster. How long can a user expect this deadly opioid to stay in the system after ingestion, and how soon does it show up on drug tests.

Fentanyl will begin to show up on a drug test almost immediately. Technically, it could take an hour or two because of the time it takes for the drug to enter all relevant body systems.

Another frequently asked question regarding fentanyl abuse is how long it stays in your system. The answer completely depends on the drug’s half-life, combined with how often the user ingests heroin and for how long.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?

Fentanyl stays in your system for varying lengths depending on the system in question. Blood, urine, hair, and saliva are different times the drug expels itself from the body.

The half-life of fentanyl after IV administration is anywhere from two to four hours. This would make the total elimination time somewhere between 11 and 22-hours. However, it’s essential to remember that this is the time it takes for the body to eliminate fentanyl from the blood.

It takes substantially longer for the body to expel fentanyl from the urine, meaning you can still fail a urine analysis even after the drug exits your bloodstream. Besides indicating whether you’ll pass or fail a drug test, the length of time fentanyl stays in your system is significant in terms of withdrawal.

After the drug is expelled from your blood, you begin entering detox and experience the symptoms of withdrawal. It’s essential to be aware of the fentanyl withdrawal timeline to better prepare for any challenges.

The Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

The fentanyl withdrawal timeline is the window when you’ll experience the worst side effects of detox. This period typically lasts between 7 and 10 days, with varying degrees of severity in between.

12-24 Hours After Last Use

You’ll begin experiencing the initial symptoms of withdrawal, including sweating, anxiety, elevated body temperature, yawning, and intense cravings.

Days 1-3

Days 1-3, you’ll begin the gradual increase of the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. This period includes nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, body aches, insomnia, and restlessness.

Days 3-5

This is often considered the detox process’s most intense period or peak. Symptoms are usually the most severe during this period, with severe anxiety and dehydration becoming real dangers. It’s essential to try and keep liquids down to avoid dehydration and keep your heart rate and blood pressure as low as possible.

Days 5-7

Symptoms begin to decline and trail off until they wear off completely. Throughout the weeks following this stage, you’ll still experience severe insomnia that may cause mental and physical anguish. It’s essential to try to remain active and keep your mind occupied to keep your body somewhat normalized so you can rest.

How Can I Stop Safely Taking Fentanyl?

You can undergo detox and enter recovery from fentanyl abuse in several ways. The least recommended way is cold-turkey or at-home detox.

Several dangers are associated with this form of detox, including elevated blood pressure and heart rate. Complications associated with insomnia can also present challenges. In addition, your chances of relapse are much higher because of the temptation to avoid the pain and discomfort of withdrawal.

Medically assisted detox or medication-assisted treatment for opioids is usually the best course of action when you’re seeking to recover. Both of these, followed by inpatient or outpatient treatment, provide you with the best chances of success.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioids

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioids

Medication-assisted treatment for opioids is one of the most popular ways to detox from fentanyl. Several options and programs exist to help users recover, and it’s essential to be aware of all avenues to find out what might work best for you.

Methadone

Methadone treatment includes attending daily dosing sessions at a clinic. You’ll also be required to submit to random drug testing and have once or twice-per-month meetings with a counselor assigned to you by the clinic.

After a few months of continuous participation without failing drug tests, you’ll be allowed to take doses home, earning privileges one day at a time. Methadone is widely considered a successful form of treatment, with the average participation time somewhere around two years. However, the demand for daily participation can be challenging for some clients.

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is available at most methadone clinics as an alternative for clients who don’t want to dose methadone. Alternatively, physicians can open private practices and become licensed to dispense buprenorphine. These clinics are under heavy scrutiny and must comply with all regulations laid out by any state and federal agencies.

Any client who receives Buprenorphine from a private physician must return once per month for appointments and prescription retrieval. Regular visits with a mental health counselor are also required as a form of substance abuse treatment.

These, combined with newer, successful treatment programs with holistic options, can be a great way to battle any substance abuse issue using new methods that treat the mind, body, and soul.

Effectiveness of a Holistic Rehab for Fentanyl

Holistic rehabs like Pathfinders Recovery offer fantastic opportunities to enter recovery. We use traditional methods with a modern twist, incorporating things like equine and ocean therapy, including several other good options for the mind, body, and soul.

It’s essential to healing every part of yourself when you enter recovery. Otherwise, you could be in for a setback through relapse. The entire self needs rejuvenation and reanimation, and holistic rehab for fentanyl is the perfect way to experience this refreshing regimen.

If you’re ready for exciting new-age treatment options with traditional effective mental health options, Pathfinders Recovery is waiting to hear from you. Contact a member of our admissions staff to find out how we can help you begin your recovery journey.

How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Does Meth Remain in Your System a Long Time?

One of the most commonly asked questions from individuals with substance use disorders is how long certain substances stay in your system. This question is often raised for a few different reasons.

Someone might be curious about the length of time meth stays in your system because they’re ready to detox. Other times, it might be because they were sober and slipped into relapse and have a drug test approaching they need to pass.

The best way to understand how long meth stays in your system and how it behaves is by really becoming educated on what meth is and how your body reacts to it. Let’s take a look at this incredibly complex drug and its role in the lives of individuals who abuse it.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is a synthetic stimulant that has a reputation for its highly addictive properties. This drug interacts with the central nervous system, leading to an intense release of dopamine, serotonin, and chemicals in the brain that manifests certain feelings and emotions when we engage in certain behaviors.

Technically, there are legal formulations of methamphetamine, such as narcolepsy medication Desoxyn. However, as an illegal narcotic manufactured on the black market, meth is a Schedule II substance on the federal and most state levels.

Throughout the 90s, methamphetamine experienced a boom in certain regions of the United States, leading to challenges with clandestine labs created by users looking to produce the drug themselves. Many of these labs led to explosions because of the crude setup and dangerous substances used to manufacture low-quality meth.

This low-quality version of the drug, otherwise known as crank, is only a fraction of the purity seen with the current version that’s flooded American streets. Many people consider meth, crank, and speed to be the same substance. However, individuals with an ear to the streets consider this to be false, as each of these terms describes a completely different substance, respectively.

Crank

Crank refers to the crudely manufactured version of methamphetamine that’s formulated in backyard and basement labs in remote areas of the United States. The popularity of these labs decreased after DEA crackdowns led to arrests in large numbers.

Additionally, many of the ingredients required to produce this version of meth are on the FDA’s banned substances list or are heavily tracked in an effort to observe buyer behavior. Crank is also known as shake and bake, bathtub crank, biker crank, and easter bunny dope.

Meth

Meth is the name that’s commonly used to refer to the current versions of methamphetamine that are circulating on the black market. Other names for this highly potent, pure form of the drug are glass, ice, tina, clear, and go-fast.

Large quantities of this drug are produced in huge warehouses known as superlabs throughout parts of Mexico. Drug cartels are behind the formulation, creation, packaging, smuggling, and distribution of this drug and rule the market with an iron fist.

It’s not uncommon for seized batches of this drug to test at nearly 100% purity. What used to be a drug considered to be approaching extinction as far as use goes has returned with a vengeance. Currently, meth is the number two most consumed drug in the entire world. This ranking is a side effect of the silent explosion of use that went almost unnoticed because of the opiate epidemic.

Speed

Speed is a term used to describe the pill form of methamphetamine. In the 70s, methamphetamine pills became popular on the black market before cocaine and crystal meth took over. Despite their decreased popularity in America, these pills still exist and are more common in parts of Europe as well as Asia the Middle East.

Despite the different forms of methamphetamine, many of the short-term effects are similar across all variations.

Short-term Effects of Meth

Meth is an incredibly long-acting drug with varying effects felt at different stages of intoxication. Because of the duration of the high, users normally require small doses of the drug to achieve the desired effects.

Despite these lowered doses, the presence of particularly intense short-term effects still has the potential to affect users in a very powerful and highly addictive manner.

Normally users either smoke meth via glass pipe or inject it with an insulin syringe. When either of these methods is administered, the drug reaches the brain very quickly, with injection being the faster of the two.

The result is what’s known as a “rush” – the sudden onset of intense pleasure and excitement. Users may also orally ingest meth or snort it nasally, both of which produce a much longer high with an increased presence of physical energy.

When the drug is swallowed or snorted instead of smoked or injected, the sudden, intense rush is replaced by a constantly maintained spark of motivation lasting for up to 12 hours.

The overall period of intoxication and time the drug remains present in the blood are dictated by what’s known as the half-life. When your body metabolizes the drug faster, the high isn’t felt as long, and the duration in which traces are detectable by a drug test is shorter as well.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Despite the fact that they’re both stimulants, meth, and cocaine exit the body at different rates. Cocaine is quickly removed and nearly completely metabolized in the body, while meth remains unchanged and hangs around much longer. This is what leads to the extended period of intoxication.

Normally the window of intoxication is anywhere between 10 and 24 hours. The overall period is heavily dependent on how much is ingested and at what time of day, how it’s administered, the body’s chemistry, and the function of the liver and kidneys.

Understanding these things about the elimination of methamphetamine from the body leaves the final question of the actual half-life of meth.

The Half-life of Methamphetamine

Understanding the half-life of meth is critical if you’re in the company of someone that suffers from meth abuse disorder. Being aware of this important number allows you to gauge when the individual can expect to experience the initial stages of withdrawal.

Normally, the half-life of methamphetamines in the bloodstream is somewhere between four and six hours. However, this doesn’t mean that all traces of meth are eliminated after this period.

It takes the course of about five half-lives for a substance to completely exit the body. After applying the appropriate math, it’s safe to assume that meth takes about 25 hours to fully vacate the bloodstream.

It’s important to keep in mind that the chemical breakdown products of meth can still be detected in other body systems, including urine, hair, and other sources. The following section highlights each different type of detection and how long they’re effective at tracing meth.

Detecting Meth in Drug Tests

Even when meth is eliminated from the blood, the drug is still detectable in certain types of tests. The following list contains information about each specific testing model:

Urine Tests

Urine testing is normally the most common form of detection when it comes to substance abuse. These tests are conducted fairly quickly and aren’t intrusive. The individual produces a urine sample in a cup, and the contents are examined with a panelled testing component. Normally urine tests can detect the presence of meth for a period of one to five days.

Blood Tests

Remember, blood tests follow the same timeline as the half-life of meth. This means that the drug is only detectable in the blood for about 25 hours.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Saliva Tests

Drug tests that consist of saliva swabs are normally effective at detecting meth for up to two days after the last use. These tests require an absorbent material to swab the mouth or tongue.

Hair Tests

Hair tests can also be used to detect the presence of meth. All it takes is a half-inch sample of hair to detect the presence of meth for up to 90 days prior to the test.

Meth Testing Variables to Consider

The detection times of meth using these drug tests change from person to person. However, there are other factors that may influence the overall detection times.

These factors include the following:

  • The individual’s overall health in question has a strong influence on how fast the drug exits the body. If you have a clean bill of health, your liver probably functions at a high level, meaning toxins are eliminated much faster.
  • When someone uses meth in large quantities very frequently, the detection times will increase significantly. This may be the largest contributing factor to the length of time meth can be picked up by drug tests.

It’s important to remain aware that large quantities and frequent use cause meth to accumulate within a user’s body. This accumulation presents a significant increase in the chances of an overdose being experienced.

Because meth has such a long period of intoxication, when users repeatedly ingest the drug, the body doesn’t have time to recover from previous doses. This accumulation is incredibly dangerous and has the potential to cause stroke, heart attack, and other negative heart-related consequences.

Additionally, large accumulations of meth also increase the chances of experiencing a negative mental health event as a result of meth intoxication. Meth-induced psychosis is common, and can produce potentially dangerous side effects.

This is why it’s critical that users have a strategy for eliminating meth from the system before attempting recovery. Once the drug is completely expelled from the body, individuals can move forward with recovery without the constant fear of meth-induced psychosis and other challenges.

Getting Meth Out of Your System

How do you get methamphetamines out of your system? The only way meth efficiently leaves the body is through the liver. The liver must process this substance, and there’s no other way to eliminate it from your system once it’s been ingested.

Avoiding subsequent doses will help you avoid larger amounts of the drug from building inside of your body. This gives your liver a chance to process the drug and effectively eliminate it from all of your body systems.

Seeking Treatment

If your goal is eliminating meth from your body, the most logical course of action is to enter a medically-assisted detox program. These programs allow you to safely go through the detoxification process under the direct supervision of medical and mental health professionals. This supervision gives the client significant advantages in terms of successfully completing the detox process.

The most severe side-effects of withdrawal may be avoided by taking advantage of medication options provided by a physician. Additionally, being monitored by professionals decreases your chances of experiencing a more severe medical event because of things like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and anxiety, which can all be side effects of detox.

When Meth is Completely Eliminated from the Body, The Road to Recovery

The post-detox period is defined as the time immediately following the drug being expelled from the body. Individuals may deal with the most significant mental challenges associated with recovery during this period.

The mind and body must acclimate to the absence of meth, and this transition can present significant challenges. It’s during this period that clients may become uncomfortable and mentally exhausted.

This struggle may lead to an increased risk for relapse and participating in an inpatient treatment program can help clients safely navigate these rough patches. It’s critical that clients receive education and guidance in the form of mental health counseling and various types of therapy to help them manage their emotions and behaviors.

Learning how to properly manage your emotions and behaviors is one of the largest elements of recovery, as you experience life with a “sober mind.”

Pathfinders Recovery Centers specializes in assisting clients with managing this journey back into normal life and environment. Our compassionate staff is well-trained in providing various levels of care and promoting recovery and mental wellness.

If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery and reclaim your life, we encourage you to contact a member of our Admissions department to learn more about our treatment options.

Cocaine Side Effects And How To Tackle Them

Cocaine side Effects

Prevalence of Cocaine Side Effects

Pathfinders Recovery Center consistently emphasizes the need for cocaine side effects treatment. With the right treatment, not only can the client live a happier life but even potentially avoid drug usage. Located in Colorado and Arizona, their expertise of 25 years has helped many people who have gotten admission to the center. They offer multiple forms of care that suit best for the client and help them passage back to society.

Cocaine is consumed by around 14-21 million individuals all over the world, most of which suffer from dire cocaine side effects. It is easier for cocaine to be misused and create an unhealthy dependence between the said drug and the consumer.  Also called cocaine hydrochloride, it is one of the most stimulating and dangerous substances.

It is often used for medical intentions as it helps in relieving pain and anesthetic purposes but has a high potential for substance abuse. In cases like that, it is crucial to seek help from rehabilitation centers to get adequate help as cocaine side effects can get too much to handle.

Why it’s Important to Address Cocaine Side Effects

The longer a person consumes cocaine, the further their brain adapts to it. To get the same high, the individual will need a higher dosage. This may result in a hazardous addiction or overdose.

Stronger, more regular dosages may potentially induce long-term alterations in the chemistry of the brain. The body becomes dependent on the substance. This might make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, and retain information from memory.

Even in younger and otherwise healthy people, use may result in a catastrophic heart attack. Taking big quantities is linked to unpredictable and perhaps aggressive behavior.

This is why it is so important to address cocaine side effects.

Cocaine Basics

The medicine floods the pleasure-controlling areas of the brain with dopamine, an organic biochemical transmitter in the body. This increase generates a high, which is characterized by heightened sensations of energy and attentiveness. It is derived from the coca leaves, which are indigenous to South America. Cocaine, as a nervous system stimulator, raises key life processes including blood pressure, core temperature, and pulse rate. Cocaine users often need less rest, have less hunger, and have greater energy and concentration. They may be more chatty and lively, have greater self-confidence, and feel better.

At this stage, a cocaine dependence may develop, leading a habitual cocaine abuser to feel melancholy, irritated, and worried without it, in addition to desires for the substance. This is the phase where more dire cocaine side effects start showing up. People may continue to misuse cocaine to manage their pleasure and satisfaction and avoid the side effects of cocaine withdrawal. This fundamentally affects the brain’s motivation and reward circuits. Cocaine consumers may believe that they need the substance to feel normal again, which eventually leads up to further cocaine side effects.

Side Effects of Cocaine use

Cocaine side Effects

Any usage, whether for short or long periods, is linked with adverse effects. Cocaine side effects are no different.

Cocaine usage causes restricted blood vessels, pupil dilation, elevated body temperature, breathing rate, and hypertension in the short term.

When short-term usage crosses the border into long-term consumption, the chances of additional and exacerbated undesirable outcomes grow. These long-term health hazards demonstrate the devastating effect cocaine has on the physical health of its users. Cocaine consumption may lead to serious medical consequences. Here are some of the major cocaine side effects:

1. Cocaine effects on breath

Major respiratory and pulmonary problems of cocaine addiction have been recorded more often in recent times, with the majority of patients being injectable consumers, freebase intakers, or crack inhalers. Cocaine effects on breath include acute and chronic effects on the lungs. Cocaine’s effects on the lungs vary depending on the mode of ingestion, dosage size, level of exposure, and the presence of related drugs such as heroin, talcum, or marijuana.

Smoking cocaine may prevent oxygen from reaching the circulation and harm oxygen-transporting vessels, which is responsible for cocaine effects on breath. This may cause significant breathing problems and serious health implications, including irreversible lung damage. Asthma, pneumonia, bronchial asthma, respiratory failure, and emphysema may occur in the user.

2. Cocaine effects on the nose and face

Consuming cocaine via the nose daily may degrade the cartilage and potentially cause the nose to collapse if there is no tissue joining the nostrils. Cocaine effects on the nose and face happen because it restricts blood circulation to the septum, resulting in a gaping wound and a deformed overall nose shape. While the “high” from ingesting cocaine via the nose may last longer than smoking or shooting up, it may cause significant harm.

Cocaine effects on the nose and face cause mucous membrane walls to be damaged and blood circulation to the nose to be disrupted. Although direct contact with cocaine causes damage to the membrane linings, reduced blood flow is caused by cocaine’s effects on neuron releases in the brain, notably adrenaline and norepinephrine. These substances aid in the regulation of blood flow all through the body.

As addiction develops, repeated doses are required to sustain the “high” effect of cocaine. Most of the harm done will be irreversible unless drug usage is stopped. In other terms, once addiction takes hold, cocaine effects on the nose and face keep getting stronger.

3. Cocaine effects on skin

Cocaine has a wide range of effects on the human body. It may harm the skin as well as several internal organs and systems, causing dire cocaine effects on skin. Long-term cocaine usage may harm many different parts of the body. Given that the skin is the body’s biggest organ, it’s no wonder that cocaine is awful for it. Cocaine may gradually destroy this crucial organ that shields the inner workings of our bodies, causing inflammation, blisters, redness, and even rotting of the skin.

Cocaine effects on skin may be caused by a variety of variables, including the reducing agents used to make the drug, how it’s delivered (intravenously vs snorting), and other unhealthy behaviors that might contribute to skin problems, such as poor food, lack of cleanliness, and inadequate sleep.

4. Cocaine Side Effects | Short Term

Because restricted blood vessels impair the circulation of blood in the body, cocaine side effects such as:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

 

Elevated blood pressure and heart rate, as well as reduced blood flow through the arteries, may raise the heart attack risk.

Cocaine usage may produce behavioral changes because it raises the quantity of dopamine in the brain’s reward center. It may cause a person to become more unpredictable and aggressive, as well as more confident and unstoppable, increasing the possibility of them engaging in risky activities that might result in injury.

5. Long Term Cocaine Effects

Consistent and long-term cocaine usage may lead a person to develop a resistance to the drug, requiring more of it to get the same benefits. When the amount or frequency of usage is increased, the effects of cocaine on their mental and physical health are exacerbated.

Because cocaine messes with the way the human brain processes neurotransmitters, users need increasing amounts of the substance to feel “normal.” Cocaine addicts (like most other drug addicts) feel unmotivated in other aspects of their lives.

Cocaine, when taken or snorted daily, may harm the nasal lining and the structure that separates the nostrils. There is a danger of blood poisoning, plasma infections (such as HIV or hepatitis) through sharing gear, ruptured blood vessels, and skin sores while injecting cocaine.

One of the long-term cocaine effects is heart issues. Some individuals suffer from mental health issues, such as chronic depression. Symptoms of ‘cocaine psychosis’ include hostility and unpleasant hallucinations, frequently of insects beneath the skin.

6. Side Effects of Cocaine Withdrawal

Side effects of cocaine withdrawal may include

  • Extreme cravings
  • Despair
  • Anxiety,
  • Furious outbursts
  • Trembling
  • Sleeping difficulty,
  • Muscular soreness

 

These may endure for weeks.

Because cocaine interferes with the brain’s chemical bonus system, a person who is withdrawing may not be able to sense any pleasure feelings without the stimulus of cocaine to activate dopamine. As a result, individuals who stop using cocaine may feel extreme desires for months or even years. Relapses are rather frequent, to avoid side effects of cocaine withdrawal.

Cocaine Treatment Options

Cocaine side Effects

Substance use disorder (SUD) is complicated, and the most successful treatment method is one that is tailored to an individual’s requirements. Many cocaine treatment options use a mix of various tried-and-true approaches. Although research into possible pharmacological therapies for cocaine addiction is underway, no FDA-approved drugs are now accessible for either cocaine detoxification or long-term treatment of cocaine side effects. As a result, behavioral therapies are the main remedy for cocaine consumption.

On top of the hazards of cocaine usage and harrowing cocaine side effects, those with substance use disorders face the social stigma that comes with addiction. Addiction, on the other hand, is not a choice nor a sign of weakness; it is a complicated medical disorder that may be effectively treated. Many individuals enjoy meaningful lives in recovery with the correct care.

Cocaine treatment options may start with a drug detox program that offers 24-hour medical oversight and management to protect the client’s safety. Although no particular drugs are presently licensed specifically to treat cocaine dependence and addiction, medical detox programs may employ pharmaceuticals to assist control cocaine side effects.

If outpatient counseling and treatment are insufficient, a residential treatment program will not only provide the client with access to peers and counselors but will also separate the client from any possible triggering conditions that would normally induce them to use cocaine. It can eventually help eliminate the other cocaine side effects too.

A residential program will enable the individual to leave their regular life behind to more deeply examine the causes of their addiction, break unproductive behaviors, and be more responsible for keeping clean.

Pathfinders is a recovery center that specializes in treating substance use disorders in multiple ways. Not only do they help in eliminating cocaine side effects, but their team have expertise in treating substance use disorders across the spectrum. Joining a recovery center may not guarantee an instant cure. It can, however, be the first and most important step towards a new, free life, changing its trajectory through your input and hard work in an environment designed to help you every step of the way. At Pathfinders, they offer clients comprehensive levels of treatment.

 

With a full continuum of care options, the team at Pathfinders Recovery is ready to meet you (or your loved one’s) needs with a customized plan of care, built around your unique needs and individual considerations. Please don’t hesitate to call today and speak to their dedicated Admissions team!

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms: A Deeper Look

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Combating the Fentanyl Overdose Epidemic

Turn on the news and you’ll undoubtedly hear about fentanyl use in many communities today. It’s quite likely that you may know someone who will succumb to fentanyl overdose symptoms at some point. This is because around 60% of opioid-related deaths in the U.S. today are caused by fentanyl. Clearly, more education is needed in regards to this drug.

Fentanyl as an adulterant has become quite popular. Initially drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine were laced with fentanyl. Many people didn’t know that fentanyl made these drugs more powerful and deadly. Today, people know about fentanyl and some will even admit that it’s their substance of choice.

What You Should Know About Fentanyl

When someone is addicted to fentanyl, they’re addicted to a drug that’s 50 – 100 times more potent than heroin. This is why the drug poses such a high risk for an accidental overdose. Since fentanyl is still being added to many other drugs, there’s the added danger that a person may not even know that they’re taking it.

What is Fentanyl?

Although fentanyl originated as a prescription medication (a.k.a. Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze) that was used to treat severe pain, it’s now being made and used illegally as well. In this regard it’s similar to morphine. Tolerance to synthetic opioids occurs when someone needs a higher dose or needs to use it more frequently to obtain the desired effects.

Where is Fentanyl Found?

Besides being found in heroin and cocaine, counterfeit fentanyl pills are now hitting the street. They’re being sold as ecstasy, oxycodone, and alprazolam. These pills are widely available and easy to purchase. This is dangerous because many people aren’t even aware of what they’re taking.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to fentanyl?

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) warns that someone may come into contact with fentanyl without even knowing it. Therefore, it’s important to understand what some of the signs of exposure in non users include. Some of the things you should watch for include:

  • Slow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Lack of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Blue lips or fingernail beds
  • Cold, clammy skin

 

How Should You Handle Fentanyl?

Recently there’s been a lot of talk regarding harm reduction and opioid safety. This is caused by the rise in usage and deaths from such drugs. For the safe handling of fentanyl the CDC suggests you take the following precautions:

  • Whenever you’re in an area where you suspect there’s fentanyl, make sure you don’t eat, drink, smoke, or use the bathroom.
  • Never touch your eyes, mouth, or nose if you’ve touched a surface that you believe may be contaminated with fentanyl.
  • Don’t do anything that may cause the fentanyl to become airborne. If you believe that the drug is already in the air, make sure you wear respiratory protection.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after you think you’ve been exposed to fentanyl. This is something you should do even if you wore gloves while in the area. Make sure you don’t use a hand sanitizer or a bleach solution because doing so will enhance the drug’s absorption into your skin.

 

It’s important to understand that it doesn’t take much fentanyl to overdose. Police and first responders are in harm’s way each and every time they respond to a suspected fentanyl overdose. While there are policies in place to help protect them, these policies continually need updated as we learn more about this drug.

How and Why Do People Use Fentanyl?

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Fentanyl is made in a lab. It’s then sold in the form of a powder. Many dealers mix it with other drugs since it only takes a very small amount of inexpensive fentanyl to get high. This is very dangerous because most people don’t even realize that they’re taking fentanyl. Since their body isn’t use to the effects of fentanyl they’re more likely to overdose.

Those who find out that they’re taking fentanyl may willingly replace their other drugs with it. They will typically use it in an eye dropper or as a nasal spray. Some people will make pills out of it so that it looks like other prescription opioids.

How does Fentanyl Affect the Brain?

Fentanyl is an opioid similar to heroin and morphine. Opioids bind to the body’s opioid receptors. These are located in the part of your brain that’s responsible for controlling pain and emotions. After you take opioids numerous times your brain adapts to the drug so you’re now dependent upon it. When this happens you may experience some of the following effects:

  • Extreme happiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confusion
  • Problems breating

Does Fentanyl Lead to Dependence?

Fentanyl will eventually lead to dependence. This is because of how potent the drug is. Even a person who’s taking the drug under a doctor’s supervision may become dependent upon it. They will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped.

Sometimes dependence results in addiction. This is the most severe type of substance abuse disorder. When someone is addicted to drugs they’ll become compulsive in seeking it out. They’ll also continue to use the drug even though it may be causing them problems at work, home, or school.

When someone stops taking fentanyl they will have severe withdrawal symptoms within a few hours. These symptoms include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Cold flashes (including goosebumps)
  • Issues with sleeping
  • Severe cravings
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

 

As you can imagine, the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal are extremely uncomfortable. They’re what causes so many people to remain addicted to this drug. The FDA is currently working on medications and devices to help people withdraw more comfortably.

Can You Overdose on Fentanyl?

As with any other drug, it’s possible to overdose on fentanyl. This happens when a drug causes serious adverse effects and life-threatening symptoms within your body. For instance, when someone overdoses on fentanyl their breathing will slow – even to the point of stopping. When this happens less oxygen makes its way to their brain. This is a condition that’s known as hypoxia. It can result in a person becoming comatized. At that point permanent brain damage and even death may occur.

How Much Fentanyl Can Kill You?

Just a quick note regarding fentanyl overdose amounts before discussing what a fentanyl overdose looks like. Although you never want to experiment with drugs like fentanyl, you may still wonder how much of it can kill you. Based on the amount of fentanyl in your system, here’s what you may be able to expect, but be very aware these are not exact and depend on general opiate and opioid tolerance:

 

  • 25 mcg is not fatal
  • 50 mcg places you at a modest risk of an overdose
  • 100 mcg places you at a moderate risk of an overdose
  • 150 mcg places you at a significant risk of an overdose
  • 250 mcg places you at a high risk of an overdose
  • 400 mcg places you at a extreme risk of an overdose
  • 700 mcg means death is likely
  • 1,000 mcg means death is near certain
  • 2,000 mcg means death is imminent

What are Some Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms?

Typically, opioids are measured in milligrams. However, fentanyl is measured in micrograms. These are 1,000 times smaller than a milligram. Hence why people so easily overdose on fentanyl. It only takes a very small amount to do so. All it takes is 2 mg of fentanyl which is like a pinch of salt.

While fentanyl itself is very dangerous, even worse variants have started to become more popular in recent years. Carfentanil is an elephant tranquilizer that’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It only takes the amount of a small grain of sand to kill an adult. This is why professionals call fentanyl and its offshoots the deadliest opionids in existence today. It’s also why it’s important to know what the symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include.

The typical overdose occurs quite quickly. Usually it only takes a few seconds. During these fleeting moments you must determine whether someone is suffering from an opioid or fentanyl overdose. There are some atypical signs that you should look for, including:

  • A person’s lips may immediately turn blue or grey
  • Their body may stiffen and show activity that’s similar to a seizure
  • They may start foaming at their mouth
  • They will be confused before becoming unresponsive

 

Common Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

Some of the more typical signs that a person who’s suffering from a fentanyl overdose will show include:

  • Dizziness: They’ll struggle to remain steady on their feet. They’ll also find that it’s difficult for them to remain in an upright position. They can neither sit nor stand but their body will need to lie down.
  • Weakness: Besides theri body being unable to remain upright, it’ll also grow weak. Fatigue is quite common. Even the person’s extremities may become limp.
  • Sleepiness: Since their brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, the person will start to experience feelings of drowsiness.
  • Hypoventilation: You may assume that you’d need to watch for rapid, erratic breaths. However, you should be watching for slow breathing. This is because opioids negatively impact the area of your brain that’s responsible for breathing.

 

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

You can seek help prior to a person overdosing. It’s important to know what symptoms to look for here. When you see any of the following symptoms it’s a good idea to seek medical intervention for the person:

  • A slow heart rate
  • Clumsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness when left untreated may result in the person slipping into a coma

 

When someone becomes unconscious you should seek medical attention immediately. These other signs should also be a red flag for anyone who believes their in the presence of someone who’s used fentanyl

What to Do When Someone Overdoses?

Whenever someone you know overdoses on fentanyl, it’s important to treat them with Narcan immediately. Thanks to the ‘Good Samaritan laws’ on overdose you shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

These laws have been put in place so you have immunity from arrest and prosecution when trying to help a victim of an overdose.

What should you know about Narcan?

Narcan and fentanyl overdose go hand-in-hand. This is because naloxone acts as a temporary antidote for opioid overdoses. When it’s administered properly naloxone can restore a person’s normal breathing and consciousness. Further treatment will still be necessary due to the depression of breathing. The person who overdosed should be taken to the hospital immediately.

Unfortunately, Narcan revival isn’t without some risks. You need to be aware of the risks of Narcan revival which may include:

  • Increased blood pressure: This is the most common side effect.
  • Nasal dryness, swelling, inflammation or congestion
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Headache

 

Some people who are revived with Narcan may become assaultive upon regaining consciousness. For your safety, this is something you should be prepared to manage.

Treating Fentanyl Addiction

Treatment for fentanyl overdose is similar to treatment for other addictions. You should receive a combination of both medication and behavioral therapy. This combination is the most effective way to treat your addiction.

Medication Assisted Treatment Options

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Two of the more popular medications that are used to help you withdraw from fentanyl include buprenorphine and methadone. They work by binding the opioid receptors in your brain that were influenced by fentanyl. In doing so they help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone is another medication that’s frequently used. It blocks your body’s opioid receptors that that fentanyl doesn’t have any affect.

Counseling for Fentanyl Dependence

You should also seek counseling along with any medication your doctor may prescribe for your fentanyl addiction. Behavioral therapy will help you modify your attitude and behavior related to drug use. At the same time, they’ll also help you increase your healthy living skills (e.g., ensuring you take your medication properly).

There are a few different types of therapy that you may find beneficial. These include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps modify your behavior regarding fentanyl use. It will also help you effectively manage your behaviors, triggers, and stress.
  • Contingency management is a voucher-based system in which you earn “points” for negative drug tests. These points can be used for items that encourage healthy living.
  • Motivational interviewing is a patient-centered type of counseling style in which your mixed feelings regarding change are addressed.

Getting Help for a Fentanyl Addiction

Fortunately, you can overcome an addiction to fentanyl. When you start exploring fentanyl treatment options you’ll find that our evidence-based medication and therapy are the best treatment around. At Pathfinders Recovery Center we want you to regain control of your life. So, if you need help obtaining your sobriety, get in contact with us today.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren’t Addictive

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - An image of a prescription of opioids that are highly addictive and can lead to opioid abuse and addiction, which is why it is recommended to seek out opioid alternatives for pain relief.

Every day 116 people die of an opioid drug overdose. And 42,249 people died of prescription opioids in 2016.

These numbers are chilling.

What is even more chilling is that many of these deaths are preventable.

The problem is that prescription opioids are seen as one of the only ways of coping with chronic pain. And people are rarely offered non-opioid alternatives.

Many individuals in recovery for opioid abuse fear that treating pain with opioids will lead to relapse.

However, it does not have to be this way. Many opioid alternatives can provide lasting pain relief with none of the risks.

Since opioids are so commonly used, you may ask yourself: “Aren’t they the best method to treat pain?”

The answer is no.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - An image of a prescription of opioids that are highly addictive and can lead to opioid abuse and addiction, which is why it is recommended to seek out opioid alternatives for pain relief.

A 2017 study showed that there was no difference between opioid and non-opioid treatment for pain management.

Opioid alternatives — like ibuprofen and acetaminophen — performed as well as opioids when treating leg and arm pain. And beyond addiction, opioids have many other side effects, including constipation, nausea, vomiting, and adrenal problems.

There are many ways of treating pain without addiction or side effects.

Let’s look at a few opioid alternatives to help you manage pain safely.

Non-Opioid Painkillers

Many addicts fear that pain relief and drug relapse go hand in hand.

But there are many non-opiate painkillers for addicts.

From drugs that treat inflammation and injuries to drugs that treat chronic pain, there are opioid alternatives.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Most people know drugs like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen by their brand names, Tylenol and Advil.

These medications are usually associated with treating mild headaches or migraines.

However, most people don’t know they can be serious non-opiate painkillers.

These drugs are considered NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

They work by acting directly on the injured body tissue to reduce prostaglandins, which causes increased inflammation after an injury.

NSAIDs function differently than opioids, which act on the central nervous system. The opioids bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, decreasing the brain’s awareness of pain. This leads to a euphoric feeling that can become addictive.

Though these drugs are non-addictive and are typically safer than opioids, they still have side effects like liver damage, stomach irritation, kidney problems, and bleeding problems.

Another serious side issue is the ceiling effect. This means that once you have increased the dosage to a certain point there is a limit or “ceiling” to how effective these drugs are.

As a result, these drugs are not recommended for chronic pain sufferers.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Chronically ill patients are especially at risk for opioid addiction.

This is because the long-term use of opioids increases the risk of becoming dependent. It may also be because many non-opioid drugs are not approved for long-term use.

However, for people suffering from chronic diseases, like fibromyalgia and chronic back or knee pain, there are opiate alternatives.

For example, Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) work by decreasing sensitivity to pain by interfering with the spinal cord’s pain suppression pathways.

The practice of using these drugs has already become popular.

One SNRI, Duloxetine, is already widely prescribed as a treatment for chronic pain.

Though Duloxetine works well for chronic pain, it has side effects like loss of appetite, constipation, and fatigue.

With many individuals that struggle with opioid addiction looking for opioid alternatives, drugs like Duloxetine provide a second chance at life.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are drugs that treat chronic pain and depression.

These drugs work effectively because chronic pain and depression have similar neurological makeup and often affect similar parts of the brain.

They work by controlling the output of serotonin and norepinephrine. They also regulate the function of the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus.

One benefit of using antidepressants to treat pain is that it can also help treat the depression that accompanies opioid abuse.

Anticonvulsants

Anticonvulsants are usually only thought of as anti-seizure medications.

However, they can also function as powerful opioid alternatives for those struggling with opioid abuse. They work by interfering with the pain signals sent from oversensitive or damaged nerve cells.

Though anticonvulsants are relatively safe, they do carry some risks. These drugs can affect levels of vitamins C, D, E, B6, and B22. They can also cause nausea, dizziness, weight gain, and fatigue.

Some of the newer drugs have fewer side effects. For example, drugs like Gabapentin and Pregabalin have successfully treated pain caused by spinal cord injuries.

Corticosteroids

Many people think athletes and bodybuilders typically use steroids or that extra boost in performance and muscle.

However, many people are unaware that steroids have been and continue to be used for pain management.

Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, they can be used to treat joint damage, nerve damage, and soft tissue damage.

What makes corticosteroids different than opioids is that they work on a cellular level. They bind to a cell, change gene expression, and control cellular function. This allows for the management of pain without the damaging effects of opioids.

Physical Opioid Alternatives

For people afraid of the side effects of pills, there many opioid alternative treatments that provide pain relief.

Physical Therapy

A great pain management option to talk to your doctor about is physical therapy.

Physical therapy allows for treating an injury or illness with exercise and massage, instead of surgery or drugs.

It also allows for more long-term pain management and recovery.

Physical therapy can often require more work on the part of the patient.

It requires attending sessions. In many cases, you will also have to perform exercises at home.

For people living without reliable transportation or in areas where physical therapists are rare, it can be challenging to access this type of treatment. Some physical therapists will travel to you, so it is important to consider all of your available options.

Physical therapy can improve healing and can provide long-term pain relief.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - A middle-aged man is engaging in physical therapy with a professional physical therapist as one of the available opioid alternatives to manage pain and improve the healing process instead of abusing opioid medications.

Acupuncture

One of the safest ways of treating pain without side effects is acupuncture.

Though acupuncture is often regarded as pseudoscience, there is evidence showing it can help treat pain.

One study found that acupuncture worked and medicine in providing long-term pain relief for patients who came into the emergency room.

Scientists have found that acupuncture can change the way the brain processes and perceives pain.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is another alternative to opioids that has minimal side effects.

Chiropractic care is a part of the medical profession that focuses on the spine and its function.

Most practitioners manipulate the spine to align the body and improve function. This makes it the perfect treatment for lower back pain, headaches, and neck pain.

Although many see chiropractic care with the same skepticism as acupuncture, there is plenty of evidence to show that it is safe and effective. For example, 95% of chiropractic users report that chiropractic care has helped them manage neck and back pain.

Consumer Report study showed that chiropractic care outperformed all other back pain treatments, including prescription and over-the-counter medication.

For people who want quick relief without addiction or side effects, chiropractic care may be the perfect option.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation TENS

One of the most interesting methods of pain relief is a TENS machine or a TENS unit. This machine essentially zaps the pain away.

A TENS machine, or a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, treats pain by passing an electrical current through the superficial tissue.

It is believed that the subtle vibrations may drown out the signals of pain that the nervous system is sending.

It may also work by stimulating healing in damaged tissue.

Another benefit of this treatment is that it’s relatively cheap. Each TENS machine is only $100 per unit. Therefore, you can get pain relief without opiates and without breaking the bank.

One of the main drawbacks of a TENS machine is that there is not much evidence to support its effectiveness. However, some experts are hopeful it can work for certain kinds of pain.

We Can Help With Opioid Addiction

For many individuals struggling with addiction, having a plan for dealing with pain can be one of the essential parts of preventing relapse.

Many opioid alternatives offer relief for almost every situation – from back pain to chronic pain.

We understand that drug addiction is a process.

If you or a loved one struggles to make your way through, contact our team of experts today.

Remember that help is always available.