Okay so, chances are you already know that Fentanyl is highly addictive, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5-years, you know the Fentanyl Epidemic has become a real crisis. You’ve also heard that most of the Fentanyl in the U.S. is now coming from China. I bet you’ve watched the news where a drug enforcement agency has seized an illegal shipment of Fentanyl from a major Drug Cartel. You know, the bust makes a headline like; “Enough Fentanyl was seized to kill 75 million people.” I think we all know that hasn’t done much to slow the supply or the demand.
Just about everyone alive has already heard all this. Still, there are a number of things you might not know. So, let’s talk about some other Fentanyl facts for a moment, shall we?
How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your Body?
Let’s say you have Fentanyl in your body? Ever wonder how long it will stay in your system? Let’s say you put on a Fentanyl patch that lasts a week? Let’s say it is a 100-microgram patch, which means your body absorbs 100-micrograms an hour all week. That’s a pretty significant dose, enough for someone who has not built up a tolerance to overdose.
How is a tolerance built up? Well, for those who’ve taken pain-killer medicines with Fentanyl in it, they will build up a tolerance over time, some quicker than others. You’ll know soon enough when the pain-killers don’t seem to work as well anymore without upping the dosage. The further you get into dependency (addiction) the higher your tolerance.
There will still be traces of Fentanyl in your system for quite a while, and as it draws down the intensity of cravings skyrockets (withdrawal symptoms). This is another sign that things have gone too far and you are now addicted. How long the drug stays in your system is also a matter of how you took the drug. Did you take it through an IV, a skin patch, nasal spray, or did you take it orally? Other factors include your metabolic rate, your size and weight, and how much water you have in your system.
Generally speaking, if you are taking Fentanyl orally or using a skin patch, you can expect at least four days before it is mostly out of your system. If you take it through an IV, it can be detected up to 48-hours after last use with a simple blood test.
What Are The Effects of Fentanyl?
There are many things Fentanyl does to the body and mind. Many side effects too. Some are very common, others are rare. This stuff will really mess you up, and once addicted it is extremely difficult to get off.
Let’s say that you are using a Fentanyl patch. In the beginning, you will probably experience a number of effects; you will feel anxious, get cold chills, and have trouble sleeping. Some experience drowsiness instead. You can expect a more acidic stomach, constipation or diarrhea, and this can lead to a loss of appetite even vomiting. You might experience a temporary false sense of well-being, then later dizziness, confusion, nausea, and headaches. Your skin might become itchy and you will start sweating profusely. Your mouth will get dry and you will feel weak and fatigued.
Realize of course, that everyone experiences side effects differently. It’s kind of like those prescription drug commercials where they tell you how great the drug is and then spend the second half of the commercial telling you about all the horrible side effects. We all laugh at those commercials, but it’s good to know the truth right?
Unfortunately, with Fentanyl addiction, things go from bad to worse. You can expect things like Apnea while sleeping as your breathing is interrupted. You will also have trouble breathing while awake. It’s common to have a constant fever, and the inability to stay alert and mindful. Hallucinations are also very common. Trouble urinating is another side effect, as you may experience an inability to drain your bladder all the way.
How Dangerous is It – Can Fentanyl Cause Death?
A large number of Fentanyl deaths occur from accidental overdose, as users buy Fentanyl from dealers selling counterfeits. Users have no idea what the dosage is. Often the second hand dealers they buy from don’t either. Another major cause of death is when other drugs such as heroin are mixed in, or when the batch is inconsistent or the mixture comes out wrong. If the concentration is not distributed throughout the batch, each pill or tablet can be different. This is a recipe for disaster.
Fentanyl deaths also occur when users take multiple drugs together. Taking Fentanyl with alcohol in your system is unfortunately all too common and can lead to death. The actual statistics on Fentanyl deaths are scary, Fentanyl overdoses have proven to be very deadly.
Why Are Young People Attracted to Fentanyl?
One reason young people are attracted to Fentanyl is due to its danger, and taboo status thus, challenging them to try it. Another reason is it can be 50-100 times more potent than morphine according to the CDC. It is the active ingredient in many pain-killers and opioids, so young people figure; “If I can’t get the pharmaceutical opioid drugs, why not get the more powerful main ingredient.” Drug users are attracted to Fentanyl because it’s more potent than heroin. It’s also readily available on the street, and Fentanyl comes in many forms; nasal sprays, lozenges, skin patches, tablets, and powder.
How Do You Know When Someone Is Misusing Fentanyl?
There are drug tests to show if someone is using Fentanyl. It is easily detected using a hair or skin sample. Fentanyl also shows up in the urine and blood. Believe it or not, hair samples can detect the use of Fentanyl even after 3-months.
Unfortunately, if someone has been taking Benadryl, sometimes it can show up as a false-positive in a couple of different types of drug tests. Most standard urine drug screening tests won’t show Fentanyl use unless those tests are specifically looking for Fentanyl markers or for the antibody metabolites that break down the substance.
Okay, but how would you know if someone is misusing Fentanyl or merely taking a pain-killer pharmaceutical drug that uses trace amounts of Fentanyl as an active ingredient? This turns out to be a very good question.
You see, when you take pain-killers your body becomes more tolerant and you will feel the need to seek a higher dosage to alleviate the pain. The pain of course is the reason you started taking them in the first place. This means there is more Fentanyl in your system. Someone who is taking Fentanyl for the first time or just starting out could easily overdose on that level of concentration or intake.
How Does Fentanyl Drug Testing Work?
Some Fentanyl drug testing uses mass spectrometry, as Fentanyl has a specific light frequency and shows up as a specific color on the machine. Incidentally, mass spectrometry is one of the ways pharmaceutical companies test for impurities in maintaining quality control of their product. When testing a person for drugs a human hair, piece of skin, sweat sample, saliva, or urine sample will reveal Fentanyl by using this technique to detect the drug.
Most often urine tests are used, as they are one of the easiest types of drug tests, but again, it only works if that urine test is looking for Fentanyl specifically.
Are Fentanyl drug tests accurate? Yes, however, there can be false-positives if other medications or drugs have been used recently. Also during medically run detox programs often substitute drugs are being used in place of Fentanyl, these might also show up as a false-positive. Which your doctor should already be aware of and understand.
Is there any way to mask the results of a Fentanyl drug testing procedure? Probably not, although many have tried to beat the drug test and failed miserably. Lately, ‘rapid Fentanyl test strips’ are being used. These are pretty accurate. More likely someone will show a false-positive when they’ve done nothing wrong, rather than fooling the drug test after using Fentanyl.
Of course, the longer the time between last use and testing the better the chances of a clean drug test. After all, it’s no longer in your system because you haven’t used it recently.
As the Fentanyl epidemic continues to ravage communities across the United States the one thing we want to make sure everyone knows is that help is always available and if you have been caught up in the wake of this devastation, then you are not alone. Here at the Villa Treatment Center we understand what you or your loved ones are going through and have a proven methodology to help you get sober and get your life back. If you or someone you know needs help or even just someone to talk to please don’t hesitate to call us 24/7.
“At The Villa we know that recovery is hard work, and each person takes a different path. You don’t have to do it alone. Call us to find out how we can help you take the steps to recovery.”
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