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Fentanyl Detox


Fentanyl detox is the process of weaning someone off of a fentanyl dependency. In a medical fentanyl detox facility, your withdrawal symptoms can be treated real-time and your treatment adjusted accordingly.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl addiction is a severe condition that affects more Americans than one would think. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl, compared to 14.3 percent in 2010.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally. Like morphine, it is a medicine typically used to treat patients with severe pain, especially after surgery. 

It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids. Tolerance occurs when you need a higher and more frequent amount of a drug to get the desired effects. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known as Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. 

When prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl can be given as a shot, a patch on a person’s skin, or as lozenges sucked like cough drops. The illegally used fentanyl associated with recent overdoses is made in labs. This synthetic fentanyl is sold unlawfully as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like other prescription opioids.

Most recent cases of fentanyl overdose and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. It is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin and cocaine as a combination product—with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [1], rates of overdose deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (carfentanil) increased by over 16% from 2018 to 2019. More than 36,000 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, in 2019.

fentanyl detox
Fentanyl detox is the process of weaning someone off of a fentanyl dependency. It allows members of centers like We Level Up to recover healthily.

Fentanyl Addict – Is Fentanyl Addictive?

Like heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. After taking opioids many times, the brain adapts to the drug, diminishing its sensitivity and making it hard to feel pleasure from anything besides it. When people become addicted, drug-seeking and drug use take over their lives.

Even just a couple of milligrams of this opioid can be fatal for recreational users. Many illegal versions of fentanyl are circulating in the streets, with various substances interacting in dangerous ways. This drug, called non-pharmaceutical fentanyl (NPF), is produced in makeshift labs and often cut with cocaine or heroin.

Even with prescription use, fentanyl can cause seizures, respiratory failure, coma, and death. One of the significant reasons Fentanyl deaths are rising is how quickly users die from it, well before most emergency medical personnel can administer successful treatment, often an injection of naloxone. In addition, the effect that fentanyl has on the muscles of the abdomen and chest often makes it difficult for first responders to administer CPR.

Why Do People Take Fentanyl? 

Fentanyl is used because it produces a stronger high than other opioids. The fentanyl sold illegally is a powder, a liquid, a spray, or a pill. Some substance abusers use fentanyl without knowing it because it is mixed into other drugs. This can include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA. Very little of the drug is needed to produce the desired effects. People using other drugs may not realize fentanyl is laced into it. As a result, they may take a more potent dose that will lead to an overdose. Because of this uncertainty, many people who misuse opioids now do “test doses,” hoping they can tell if the drug is laced with fentanyl.

What is Fentanyl Used For?

Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. It is not intended to be used for short-term pain and will go away in a few days or on an as-needed basis. Some studies warn against using fentanyl to treat surgical pain, but it is still sometimes used for such pain management. When fentanyl is used for surgical applications, it’s typically part of the anesthesia administered to patients to manage pain following the surgery.

How is Fentanyl Taken?

Fentanyl can be injected, snorted/sniffed, smoked, taken orally by pill or tablet, and spiked onto blotter paper. Fentanyl patches are abused by removing their gel contents and then injecting or ingesting these contents. Patches have also been frozen, cut into pieces, and placed under the tongue or in the cheek cavity. Illicitly produced fentanyl is sold alone or in combination with heroin and other substances and has been identified in counterfeit pills, mimicking pharmaceutical drugs such as oxycodone.

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Is it Safe to Detox from Fentanyl Cold Turkey?

It’s not safe to go cold turkey with fentanyl. Fentanyl, just like all other opioids, can lower a person’s respiratory rate, heart rate, and blood pressure. If fentanyl is suddenly stopped, these systems can go haywire. People can experience a sudden increase in blood pressure, leading to strokes or heart attacks. Moreover, detox from fentanyl cold turkey comes with a host of long-lasting emotional issues. Without assistance, people who try to quit cold turkey can experience dangerous side effects and are at increased risk of relapse and harm.

Medical detox is always recommended for opioids like Fentanyl. Medical specialists can get patients on weaning off schedule, where they are given ever-decreasing doses of Fentanyl. Or, doctors can completely replace the drug with Buprenorphine/Naltrexone. Giving the body time to wean off an opioid will lessen the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms.

Fentanyl Detox Symptoms

Fentanyl produces euphoric effects, pushing people to start abusing the drug in the first place. It makes the user feel good. That’s why many people take it recreationally, not knowing the risks. And if a person is already addicted, attempting to quit without proper treatment will result in withdrawal from fentanyl, also known as fentanyl detox symptoms. These can include:

  • Fentanyl cravings
  • Goose bumps
  • Runny nose
  • Increased tearing
  • Sweating
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Excessive yawning
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscles aches
  • Joint pain
  • Weakness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation

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What Is a Fentanyl Detox?

The method of removing fentanyl from the body safely is called detox, which is the removal of toxic substances from the bloodstream.

This process is usually performed in a specialized substance abuse treatment center. Detox can be part of either an outpatient or an inpatient program, depending on the specific needs of the individual. Typically, residential detox is called medical detox, which includes medical and mental health support provided by highly trained professionals around the clock. Vital signs are monitored to ensure each individual’s safety, and medications are also often used to manage physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms. A residential detox is usually recommended for fentanyl withdrawal as it is a powerful opioid.

Why You Should Not Attempt Fentanyl Detox at Home Alone?

The type of detox a person must undergo depends on many factors. In some cases, a person can choose to detox at home. But even at home, the person needs to have proper supervision. Additionally, the individual will need examination by a professional to ensure that the detox process is going smoothly. The monitoring process is also vital during treatment. Medical professionals monitor the detox process and ensure that it’s working correctly. 

By itself, detox isn’t enough. Medical detoxification alone does little to change long-term drug use, but it is a good start. The problem is that many people who go through detox do not move on to rehab procedures afterward. Rehab is where the true healing for addiction occurs. Rehab is where people learn how to live without giving in to their addictions.

What is Safe During Fentanyl Detox?

To begin a safe detox, consult with a medical professional, preferably one with addiction treatment or withdrawal management experience. This specialist can provide a thorough assessment of your status and risks.

In determining an appropriate treatment plan for you, he or she may ask you questions about:

fentanyl detox
Fentanyl detox centers can help those suffering from addictions such as fentanyl misuse overcome their dependence without coming to harm.
  • The type or types of substances you use regularly and whether you are currently intoxicated.
  • The frequency, dose, and duration of your use.
  • Any preexisting and concurrent mental health symptoms.
  • Your physical health/medical history.
  • Previous withdrawal and detox attempts.
  • How much support do you have at home.

Your answers to these questions will help determine an appropriate care level. In very limited instances, natural (or “cold turkey”) detox may be an option for a healthy person with no significant physical dependence or with a history of use of a substance not typically associated with dangerous withdrawal symptoms (e.g., hallucinogens, some inhalants).

What Isn’t Safe During Fentanyl Detox?

Detoxing at home or without appropriate withdrawal management may not be safe with some types of substance dependence. In certain cases, and with certain substances (such as alcohol), abruptly quitting without medical withdrawal management can be risky.

If you experience progressively severe withdrawal symptoms and complications without medical care or assistance, detoxing at home can be dangerous. For example, left unmanaged, detox from alcohol can bring about withdrawal symptoms such as seizures or delirium tremens that can lead to death. Also, a relapse could increase if a person is subjected to an unpleasant withdrawal and has no plan for medical assistance.

Completing detox from drugs and alcohol at home is only a viable option for substances that don’t produce perilous withdrawal symptoms. Remember, however, that while there may be relatively few common medical dangers, some unexpected risks may arise. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), several medical complications, such as nausea and vomiting, can occur during detoxes.

Particularly in scenarios where an altered level of consciousness is a factor, it’s possible individuals may aspirate on their vomit, which can be fatal. The uncomfortable nature of withdrawal symptoms and the presence of accompanying substance cravings can contribute to relapse or return to drug or alcohol use when withdrawal symptoms aren’t managed. Drug cravings can be tough to resist when withdrawal feels too uncomfortable to handle. Getting professional support can make a big difference in preventing relapse and making it to the next treatment step.

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How to Detox Fentanyl?

Fentanyl detox is the process of weaning someone off of a fentanyl dependency. It allows members of centers like We Level Up to recover healthily. While an uncomfortable withdrawal from fentanyl is unavoidable, it doesn’t have to be unbearable.

The substance is highly addictive, so individuals struggling with misuse can’t quit abruptly. Instead, licensed clinicians at addiction treatment centers swap one out for another. In other words, medication to relieve withdrawal symptoms is often necessary. Some of the medications are:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine (aka Subutex)
  • Suboxone
  • Naloxone

These FDA-approved drugs are also opioids (minus Naloxone). They’re not as addictive as fentanyl per se, but people can develop an addiction without professional supervision. Licensed substance use specialists are essential to recovery. They will gradually reduce the dosage of these opioids. Then, once a clinician feels a treatment center member is physically ready they will stop its administration.

In this way, members at treatment centers avoid an unbearable withdrawal. Opioid cravings are minimized, which can prevent an overdose. Since synthetic opioids are responsible for most drug overdose cases, this is important. Around 30,000 Americans died from a synthetic opioid overdose in 2018.

Fentanyl Detox Center

Detoxification and withdrawal are difficult for patients and require medical and specially trained personnel. This is where detox centers come in. Fentanyl detox centers can help those suffering from addictions such as fentanyl misuse overcome their dependence without coming to harm. They also provide a safe setting where patients can focus on their detox and recovery until they’re ready to rejoin the outside world.

Most rehab facilities address all types of addictions including fentanyl dependencies. Such facilities are equipped to provide physical and psychological support to their patients by providing a complete range of services that are geared towards patients’ recovery:

  • Patient community
  • Wellness support
  • Treatment of underlying medical conditions
  • Medical services
  • Behavioral services
  • Social services

With professional doctors, counselors, and therapists available 24/7, your overall well-being and holistic healing are prioritized in these facilities. 

What Is a Medically Assisted Fentanyl Detox?

A fentanyl medical detox is a process of weaning someone off from fentanyl by using medication to stabilize fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. During a medically assisted fentanyl detox, you will also be constantly monitored by a medical team and trained professionals who can assist you should your symptoms escalate.

They will also monitor your progress and ensure you don’t become addicted to the medication you use to manage your withdrawal. You must complete the medical detox and follow through on your recovery by going to fentanyl rehab. This is because detox is just the beginning of your journey to recovery. It should ideally be followed with ongoing support and treatment to help you remain drug-free once you leave the detox facility. This follow-on treatment is recommended by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) [2].

In some instances, fentanyl may be replaced with a different opioid agonist during detox. Buprenorphine products are commonly used to aid in opioid withdrawal. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that is FDA-approved to treat opioid dependence. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports the brand names Bunavail, Suboxone, and Zubsolv all contain buprenorphine as well as the opioid antagonist naloxone. Buprenorphine can be found in transmucosal products like Subutex.

fentanyl detox
During a medically assisted fentanyl detox, you will also be constantly monitored by a medical team and trained professionals who can assist you should your symptoms escalate.

Buprenorphine acts on opioid receptors in the brain like other opioids but to a much lesser degree. This action can help reduce withdrawal symptoms without producing the euphoric “high” that opioid narcotics like fentanyl are known to produce. Naloxone, on the other hand, has the opposite effect and blocks opioid receptors from receiving opioids. The naloxone component of these opioid dependency medications remains dormant unless they are altered or abused, and then, if activated, can cause withdrawal to come into full force. Combination medications may be reserved for post-detox after fentanyl, and other opioids are entirely out of the system.

Adjunct, or supplementary, medications are helpful during medical detox too. Antidepressants can help with depressive symptoms; antihistamines can assist with insomnia or restlessness; medications to ease gastrointestinal distress can address nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea; and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents can soothe muscle aches, Pain Treatment Topics reports. The blood pressure medication clonidine is also a popular adjunct medication used off-label to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, as it can help regulate heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.

Medical detox can be highly beneficial in helping to safely and smoothly remove fentanyl from the body and achieve a healthy physical balance. When it is followed with a substance abuse treatment program that uses both therapeutic and pharmaceutical tools, cravings and other negative psychological and behavioral symptoms of substance abuse and addiction can be improved and managed on a long-term basis.

Fentanyl Patch Detox

What is a fentanyl patch? Fentanyl patches are used to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications. Transdermal fentanyl comes as a patch to apply to the skin. The patch is usually applied to the skin once every 72 hours. Unfortunately, fentanyl patches may be habit-forming or may cause fentanyl addiction, especially with prolonged use.

For those with opioid use disorder or who know an individual suffering from fentanyl patch abuse, please consider treatment. Because this is an evolving situation, the opioid you use may contain other dangerous synthetic opioids. Clearing opioids from the body and overcoming withdrawal symptoms is the goal of fentanyl patch abuse detox, which is the first step of treatment for addiction.

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Fentanyl Detox Timeline

In a medical fentanyl detox facility, your withdrawal symptoms can be treated real-time and your treatment adjusted accordingly. They can also provide emergency medical intervention if necessary. You’ll be able to employ their expertise in managing and reducing withdrawal symptoms. The pain and discomfort of the detox will still be there, but it’s more manageable thanks to the medical team and the treatment they’ll be prescribing.

They’ll also create a treatment plan that addresses your fentanyl use, medical history, and physical and mental condition. The treatments that medical detox facilities provide are holistic and can involve programs and activities like counseling, meditation, group therapy, and yoga.

While fentanyl addiction is common, everyone is different and can benefit from a medically assisted treatment plan that considers their different needs. This sets you up for better, safer, and more long-term recovery than if you were to do it alone.

People also undergo different symptoms during each phase of fentanyl withdrawal. There are three main stages of withdrawal: early, peak, and long-term effects.

fentanyl detox
In a medical fentanyl detox facility, your withdrawal symptoms can be treated real-time and your treatment adjusted accordingly.

Early Symptoms (2 to 4 Hours After Last Dose)

The earliest symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal involve slight bodily discomforts, such as constant yawning, aches, and chills. Physical symptoms may come with feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and an intense craving for drug use.

Peak Symptoms (24 to 36 Hours After Last Dose)

Peak symptoms may last up to about a week after the last dose. Symptoms may include an increase in earlier withdrawal effects. Individuals may also experience additional symptoms that require medical care and attention, such as fever and vomiting.

How Long Does Fentanyl Detox Last?

Fentanyl detox can last up to several weeks or longer, depending on how your body responds to the medication used to relieve withdrawal symptoms. The greater the amount of fentanyl used, the larger the dose of medicine needed to control and manage symptoms — meaning your detox period may be longer. In some instances, medication may be used for a lifetime to help you stay abstinent from fentanyl and other opioids.

Don’t try detoxing from fentanyl on your own since doing so has life-threatening consequences. Fentanyl is a short-acting opioid, which means withdrawal symptoms can begin anywhere between 8 and 24 hours after the last use and may last between four and ten days.

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Hot and cold flashes and sweating
  • Tearing eyes and runny nose
  • Muscle stiffness and aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Insomnia and anxiety

Fentanyl Detox Near Me

Fentanyl addiction is a condition that can cause major health problems, such as an overdose. We Level Up rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition and give you clarity about issues like the fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

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