Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse

 

Fentanyl is one of the strongest opiate drugs on the market. It is not a long-lasting drug so it is often used for surgery recovery and for breakthrough pain—meaning that when a person is already taking an opiate but has temporary pain that breaks through the opiate barrier, they may be given fentanyl.

Time-release formulations for fentanyl provide strong pain relief over time. They come in two forms—a lollipop and a patch. Fentanyl also comes as a small piece of film that can be dissolved under the tongue and a pill meant to be lodged inside the cheek. In hospital settings, fentanyl can be injected. For the individual abusing the drug outside a hospital, this is highly dangerous, as the difference between a therapeutic dose and a deadly dose is very small.

As with any opiate, the main symptoms of fentanyl abuse are euphoria, drowsiness, lethargy and mellowness. Fentanyl very quickly creates a tolerance to high doses, so a dose that is adequate for the intended high one week will probably not create that intended high even a few days later.

There are many other signs and symptoms of using fentanyl, either medically or illicitly, that are not desirable.

These include:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Retention of urine
  • Suppression of breathing
  • Severe constipation
  • Itching or hives
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Bad dreams
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Swollen extremities

Addiction Is Also a Symptom of Fentanyl Abuse

In most cases, addiction is accompanied by a deterioration in personal integrity. It takes many unethical or criminal acts to maintain an addiction over time—either expenditure of large amounts of personal money or thefts, prescription fraud, doctor-shopping or other crimes, to get the drugs that are needed. A fentanyl addict normally has secrets from most or all of the people they encounter regularly. If the thefts are from a workplace, as often happens, they will be living a secret life while at work. Hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes are often the sites of fentanyl theft by desperate employees.

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