Dr. Cali Estes - The Addiction Coach ®

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Why Fentanyl is Hard to Quit


Why Fentanyl is Hard to Quit

Fentanyl has quickly become a major concern around the world, with it being a major contributor to drug overdose deaths and skyrocketing in usage ever since it’s popularization in 2011. So – what is fentanyl, what makes it so dangerous, and most importantly: what makes it hard to quit?

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl, for those unaware, is classified by the CDC as a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It’s often used for severe post-surgery pain or for advanced-stage cancer in Its pharmaceutical form, but the more dangerous version of the drug is its illegal variant. This is due to it being added to other drugs to make them cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and – most importantly – more dangerous.

Fentanyl was first made in 1959, then properly introduced in the early ‘60’s. However, the biggest problems began from 2011 to 2018, when the number of fatal overdoses from illicit versions of the drug and law enforcement encounters involving it suddenly rose, year after year. The numbers then resurged yet again once the COVID-19 pandemic began, due to users of other drugs running out of supply and the means to get it, thus leading to using more readily available substances like Fentanyl.

Why is Fentanyl Dangerous?

Due to the sudden popularization of fentanyl and its easier-to-consume forms like the infamous “rainbow fentanyl” (which is similar in form to candy), overdosing has become increasingly common and thus much more alarming. More than 71,000 people died in the United States from an overdose in 2021 alone, and more than 108,000 last year.

For those who may want to know for future reference, often the signs of a fentanyl overdose are as follows:

Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”

Falling asleep or losing consciousness

Slow, weak, or no breathing

Choking or gurgling sounds

Limp body

Cold and/or clammy skin

Discolored skin (especially in lips and nails)


Why Fentanyl is Hard to Quit

So, what makes fentanyl particularly difficult to quit? Well, recent studies and development suggest that Fentanyl may have a unique form of withdrawal backlash symptoms. Specifically, the symptoms worsen when patients are put on buprenorphine, a well-known medication used to treat opioid use disorder. This, alongside the other factors, really paint the full picture of just how scary Fentanyl can be. Easily accessible, dangerously addictive, dangerously potent, and resistant to treatment. It’s especially difficult due to an issue of scarce resources, while buprenorphine may be countered by Fentanyl, the other medicated option “methadone” is much more difficult to get, making help more difficult to get.

This isn’t to say getting help is impossible, however. Again, in terms of traditional medicine, methadone is an effective solution. There are also alternatives to traditional drug and alcohol treatment that are especially effective! Sober coaching services as hosted by The Addictions Coach and Sober on Demand are proven to be effective in battling all sorts of addictions. Not only that, but they also host other options like a sober companion service to ensure on-the-go treatment and protection.

When it comes to these sorts of programs and services, there are a few misconceptions and hesitations that may come with it, but rest assured they are indeed an option if needed. There’s no use of buprenorphine for fentanyl-addicted clients, and instead a utilization of modernized approaches that not only help an individual recover effectively but also within their own preferred realm of privacy. As opposed to other drug and alcohol treatment services, there is more of a focus on independence, allowing each client to stand on their own two feet without reliance on the program itself. Even down to that aforementioned sober companion service, it’s revolutionary in its approach to allow clients to live their lives and have a helpful guiding hand through that process.




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