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Everything to Know About Fentanyl and the Increasing Od Because of It

News outlets everywhere are covering the shocking increase in overdose deaths involving fentanyl, an opioid. At Lighthouse Recovery, we are here to help work with anyone struggling with drug addiction through our Dallas, Texas based outpatient drug rehab. For some individuals, going into a detox center first is necessary, and then they may transition into our addiction treatment center

Read on to learn all about fentanyl, and the dangers of it:

  • What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic (meaning lab-made) opioid that’s approximately 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Opioids are drugs, which can be either naturally derived from the opium poppy plant or manmade in a lab, and are designed to help manage the severe effects of pain.

  • How is fentanyl used?

It can be used in a few different ways: when prescribed, it’s given as a shot, patch, or lozenge. The illegally made fentanyl is used differently; it’s available as powder, blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into pills. Another danger in illegally-made fentanyl is that drug dealers often lace the inexpensive-to-make fentanyl with other drugs to increase the high the drug produces, for cheaper. If a user isn’t aware a drug is laced with the incredibly potent fentanyl, they may take too much, which leads to an overdose. 

  • What does fentanyl do to the body?

Like other opioids, fentanyl works to bind to opioid receptors in the brain. Those receptors are what control pain and emotion, so when the drug binds to the receptors, it creates feelings of extreme happiness.

  • How do you become addicted to fentanyl?

The trouble with opioids like fentanyl is that your brain can become desensitized to their effects, making it impossible to feel pleasure from anything besides the drug-induced high. And, over time your brain becomes adjusted to the dose of fentanyl such that it no longer produces the desired effects. This leads a drug addict to increase their frequency of use or amount of doses, and makes it incredibly hard for them to focus on anything other than seeking that feeling of pleasure again.  

Because fentanyl really reworks your brain wiring, it’s important to seek addiction treatment to safely overcome your addiction.

  • Overdose

As you can see in the graph depicting the exponential rise of fentanyl encounters by law enforcement, one of the dangers of fentanyl is its rapid acceleration and use.

Graph from the CDC

Many times drug users may not be aware that their heroin or cocaine is mixed with the extremely strong fentanyl, and take too much, leading to an overdose. Fentanyl overdose happens when your body becomes hypoxic with insufficient oxygen reaching the brain, causing coma, lasting brain damage, or death. 

According to, “In 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl compared to 14.3 percent in 2010.” That sky-rocketing figure is what has health officials so concerned about the dangers of illegally-made fentanyl.

Overdose death can sometimes be prevented if medical intervention is immediate. Naloxone (also known as the nasal spray NARCAN) is a lifesaving medicine used to treat opioid overdose. If you suspect someone has overdosed, call 911 and use NARCAN immediately if available. Treating overdose is just one step. Immediately try to underscore the importance of drug rehab and addiction treatment. The next overdose may not be as lucky.

  • How to treat fentanyl addiction?

Like other kinds of substance abuse, fentanyl and opioid addiction can be treated with medications and behavioral therapies through inpatient and outpatient drug rehab. Withdrawal side effects from fentanyl are extremely unpleasant, which is one of the reasons it’s so hard for an addict to quit using fentanyl on their own. Plus, it can be dangerous. That’s why it’s encouraged to seek help from a detox center to medically manage the withdrawal side effects, and they can then help guide an addict into an outpatient drug rehab program after detoxing.Lighthouse Recovery believes in getting to the underlying causes and conditions of rehab, and working with science-based behavioral therapies and methods to lead to long-term sobriety. If you’re looking for a drug rehab center in Dallas, Texas that truly cares about each and every patient and their lifelong success, give us a call today: 214-760-6933.



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