Effects of Fentanyl Abuse


Opiate and opiate-type synthetic drugs (called opioids) are measured against morphine when calculating their strength. The painkiller fentanyl is calculated at 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. This means that this drug must be formulated carefully to avoid overdoses.

In a hospital setting, this fast-acting opioid may be administered via injection but in abuse situations, it is extremely easy to overdose this way. Most people abusing the drug will look for the sublingual film that comes in tiny sheets to put under the tongue, the pills that are supposed to be lodged between teeth and cheek, or the long-lasting patches. Abusers will squeeze the liquid or gel out of these patches and smoke, ingest or place the solution under the tongue. There is also a lollipop sold as Actiq¨ that is sucked over time to release the drug and a sublingual spray for breakthrough cancer pain.

Other brand names for this drug include Abstral, Duragesic, Fentora, Lazanda, Onsolis, and Subsys.

In recent years, fentanyl has found its way into heroin supplies causing numerous overdoses to unsuspecting users. This drug made an already out of control opioid epidemic that much more critical.

Effects of Fentanyl are Common to Opiates

Drowsiness, euphoria, itching, lethargy are all effects of fentanyl and other opiates. With fentanyl’s extraordinary strength, this drug very quickly creates a tolerance for opiates. A dose of fentanyl on Monday may result in a drowsy euphoria but on Wednesday, not much may happen. For the person trying to alleviate severe pain, it may be hard to get pain relief from other opiates after fentanyl use due to this fast tolerance-building effect.

Of course, with this remarkable strength, two other major effects of fentanyl are addiction and overdose.

It should be noted that some people will become addicted to fentanyl without ever abusing it. In other words, they will only take it as directed by a doctor, but they can be completely addicted to the drug on a physical level. This person can usually be weaned off the drug by a physician and not need further treatment. But when a person uses this drug for escape from life’s problems, the addiction is going to be both physical and psychological. This person will need drug rehabilitation to recover on both fronts.

Other Effects of Fentanyl

There are two sets of effects for fentanyl - one for use of the drug and the other for withdrawal from this drug. In both cases, they are essentially the same as symptoms associated with other opiates. But because fentanyl is so strong, these other effects of the drug can also be very strong.

Side effects of Fentaynl:

  • Nausea and vomiting (in about one-quarter of the people who use the drug)
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy, tiredness, weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of hands, feet, ankles
  • Headaches
  • And of course, addiction and risk of overdose

Effects of fentanyl withdrawal:

  • Extreme restlessness
  • Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Chills
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure

It’s obvious from this list of effects that abusing fentanyl is a very dangerous and often miserable practice. A person who is addicted to drugs like this very often loses his ability to make rational decisions. When dope sickness (withdrawal symptoms) kick in hard, it is terribly difficult to stick with one’s decision to get sober. This is why so many people fail and is also the reason for the various forms of drug replacement therapy. Methadone, Suboxone and even pharmaceutical heroin (diacetylmorphine) are used in various locations to prevent withdrawal, but may leave the person still addicted, only to a different form of opiates.

Since 1966, there has been a better way to leave drug abuse behind, and that is the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.

Narconon Uses No Substitute Drugs

There are no substitute drugs like methadone nor any other drugs like benzodiazepines used as part of this recovery program that would keep a person dependent on medication. Instead, the goal that is achieved is complete sobriety. Instead of drugs, nutritional supplements and plenty of one-on-one work to calm body and mind are used as a person comes off addictive substances. No one is left alone to suffer when there are effective ways of supporting a person through this time.

When withdrawal is complete and a person is sleeping and eating normally and the pain and sickness are gone, he (or she) can begin recovery on the Narconon program. This is a program with five decades of success.

drug detox at Narconon

One key to its success is the phase of recovery called the Narconon New Life Detoxification. This phase has each person taking a prescribed regimen of nutritional supplements, exercising moderately and then spending a specific amount of time in a dry-heat sauna. This combination causes the body to start pulling old drug residues out of fatty tissue and eliminating them through sweat as well as other channels. It is not unusual for a person to briefly feel the effects of old drugs or to taste a drug or alcohol again as the residues are flushed out.

But at the end of this process, those completing typically talk about renewed energy, brighter outlook and lower (or eliminated) cravings for drugs and alcohol. Without this step, life can be a continuous struggle with moods and cravings.

After this, it is possible for a person to go through the counseling to remedy the reasons they first began using drugs. This will be followed by life skills training so he never has to go through this torture again.

Someone you care about who is struggling with opiate or fentanyl addiction can find out what life is like without drugs by going through this program.

See also Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse 


Sign up free to receive our email newsletter: