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Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller. It is offered to victims who are undergoing severe pain or injured. It is also given to an individual after undergoing surgery to relieve them from pain. It is also made illegally, and used as a recreational drug, which is often mixed with heroin or cocaine. It has a rapid onset of action 5 minutes and effects generally last less than an hour or two. It has brought relief to many people who are suffering significant pain as a consequence of diseases such as cancer. But because of its capacity to produce a high euphoric when abused, many individuals have become addicted to fentanyl, soon requiring larger doses and more frequent use to accomplish the desired effect. The degree and rate at which fentanyl is absorbed into a body are 33% (ingestion), 50% (buccal), 89% (intranasal), 92% (transdermal) and 100% (intramuscular) and the formula of fentanyl is C22H28N2O
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Fentanyl is 40-50 times more potent than heroin and 50-100 times more powerful than morphine.
How Does Fentanyl Work
The brain is structured like a road, and the drivers are substances called neurotransmitters. The main function of a neurotransmitter is to communicate chemical messages. Neurotransmitters do so by docking on a receptor site, similarly to key in a lock. Some neurotransmitters fit certain receptor sites and when a neurotransmitter which matches on a receptor site it will instruct that site on what to do.
When the opioids bind themselves with receptors, they increase the dopamine levels in the brain’s reward system. It is the system that instructs humans to do more things that are useful or pleasurable for the self. For example, when you eat sweet like chocolate, you will have the same feeling of satisfaction and happiness which makes you want to taste again.
When opioids like Fentanyl mess up the brain’s reward system and affects the brain are similar to heroin, but even more powerful, and in addition to euphoria and relaxation. It means that there are no real stimuli that triggered the feeling of satisfaction or happiness in a person and other indications of the consequences of Fentanyl can involve nausea, drowsiness, sedation, disorientation, respiratory depression, respiratory arrest, unconsciousness, and even death
Signs And Symptoms Of Fentanyl Abuse
Fentanyl is one that is commonly abused, both intentionally and unintentionally. There are some important physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral changes that set in when one develops a chemical dependency and it can be detected in a person’s behavior and bodily state and fentanyl may demonstrate many signs and symptoms, including the following
Physical Signs And Symptoms Of Fentanyl Addiction
- Shallow or labored breathing
- Reduced heart rate
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Whirling sensation
- Swollen feet and hands
- Slowdowns inhaling
Behavioral Signs And Symptoms Of Fentanyl Addiction
Cognitive Signs And Symptoms Of Fentanyl Addiction
- Inability to concentrate
- Impaired awareness
- Obsessive interest in finding more of the drug
- Serious cravings for the drug
- Suicidal mentation
Psychosocial Signs And Symptoms Of Fentanyl Addiction
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Mental illness
- Mood fluctuation
Statistics Of Fentanyl Addiction
According to statistics collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the yearly rate of death from synthetic opioids along with fentanyl and synthetic derivatives of fentanyl raised by 80% between 2013 and 2014. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has stated that within the period of 20-year in 1991 and 2011, the annual estimate of painkiller prescriptions recorded in the United States rose from 76 million to 219 million, an addition of more than 288%. In 2013 and 2014, more than 13 million painkiller medicines were written for fentanyl. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the annual number of deaths among women that were addicted to prescription painkiller overdose increased by more than 400% through the initial decade of the 21st century.