An Overview of the Fentanyl Drug Test
What is Fentanyl?
Much deadlier than heroin, fentanyl is becoming a popular drug abused by opiate addicts. Medically, fentanyl is used to help relieve ongoing pain; a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic, it works in the brain to help change how your body feels and responds to pain. Fentanyl is classified as Schedule II prescription drug. Often used with cancer patients or after surgery, it is a powerful opioid. This drug is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is taken with injection, transdermal patch, or in lozenges. On the street, we hear fentanyl being called China Girl, Apache, China White, Goodfella, Jackpot, and Dance Fever. The music legend Prince died from Fentanyl.
The Fentanyl we see on the street is typically produced in clandestine laboratories and known as non-pharmaceutical fentanyl. Abusers usually swallow, snort, or inject fentanyl. Sometimes it is sold on blotter paper and it is put in the mouth, so the fentanyl is absorbed through the mucous membrane. On the street, fentanyl is also mixed with or substituted for heroin, and this is causing deaths throughout America. Dealers are adding fentanyl to weaker batches of heroin because it works so well and is so very addictive. Often heroin users do not know that the drug they are taking contains fentanyl and overdose is very possible and not planned. Mixtures of cocaine and fentanyl have also been found and also deadly. Naloxone is a drug used to reverse the fentanyl overdose and potentially save lives.
What are the Effects of Fentanyl?
When abusing fentanyl, the user experiences euphoria but then may get depressed and confused. The drug stimulates the opioid receptors in the brain to create feelings of pleasure, peace, and relaxation. When used excessively or with high doses, the user may frequently nod off and then wake up not realizing they were out for a short period.
Extremely addictive, excessive and long-term Fentanyl use will cause an individual to take more and more Fentanyl to achieve the same high. This puts the user at risk for overdose possibly leading to death. Like many opioids there are potential side effects of fentanyl use both medically and by users of non-pharmaceutical fentanyl. Some of these side effects include confusion, itching, constipation, sweating, tightness in the throat, and trouble concentrating.
When taken medically, a doctor will likely taper the person off fentanyl or replace it with another drug. This is not the case when fentanyl is being abused. Overdose is caused by respiratory depression, where breathing is slowed to the point that not enough oxygen can reach the brain.
Fentanyl Short-Term Effects
- Euphoria & drowsiness
- Dilated pupils
- Dry mouth
- Nausea, confusion
- Hallucinations, unconsciousness, coma or death
- Respiratory depression and arrest
Fentanyl Long-Term Effects
- Harm personal life and relationships
- Initiate or worsen mental health conditions
- Depression and mood swings
- Decreased oxygen in the body tissues – anoxic injury
- Multiple organ system damage