Fentanyl is the deadliest drug our nation has ever encountered. It’s everywhere; no community is safe. That’s why it’s important to know the basics about this highly addictive synthetic opioid that continues to drive the overdose epidemic.
What Does Fentanyl Addiction Look Like? Fentanyl is addictive because of its potency. Even a person taking prescription fentanyl as instructed by a doctor can experience dependence; this is characterized by withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped. A person can be dependent on a substance without being addicted, but dependence can sometimes lead to addiction.
Addiction is the most severe form of a substance use disorder (SUD). SUDs are characterized by compulsive drug seeking and drug use that can be difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. When someone is addicted to drugs, they continue to use them even though they cause health problems or issues at work, school, or home. An SUD can range from mild to severe. When people addicted to fentanyl stop using it, severe withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken. These symptoms include:
- muscle and bone pain
- sleep problems
- diarrhea and vomiting
- cold flashes with goose bumps
- uncontrollable leg movements
- severe cravings
These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and are the reason many people find it so difficult to stop taking fentanyl.
Next week, we’ll take a look at treatment for fentanyl addiction.