Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

Recovery Begins at Northpoint Colorado

The drug known as fentanyl is increasingly causing addiction and overdose concerns in Colorado communities. In 2018, a total of 17 people OD’d on fentanyl in Denver. That number multiplied seven times in just two years to an astounding 119 lives lost in 2020, according to the city medical examiner’s office as reported in The Colorado Sun (February 2021). Statewide, overdoses have doubled from 2019 to 2020.

Drug spread is mainly tied to distribution routes. With major intersections meeting near Denver, the city has become a prime hub for a northward-driven flow from the Mexican border.

Treatment centers have struggled to keep up with a lack of existing detox services and the challenges required when opening new facilities due to the strict program oversight needed to operate within compliance and safety standards. Northpoint Recovery Colorado opened in early 2021 and was welcomed by local governments as they recognized this need for more inpatient detox locations.

What is Fentanyl?

Imagine something that’s 50x-100x more powerful than morphine at relieving pain and also has the potential to be misused with fatal consequences. That’s fentanyl. People are generally more aware of the drug morphine than they are fentanyl. Most people know morphine is often given to treat excruciating pain post-surgery, can be dangerous, and therefore can’t be used as a long-term solution due to harmful side effects. It’s also used for end-of-life pain management.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and has medical uses for pain management under the prescription brand names Sublimaze®, Duragesic®, and Actiq®. Although fentanyl was created with the best intentions for its use, misuse can grow into addiction.

Now consider this potent drug being unleashed and distributed on rural, suburban, and urban streets. Fentanyl becomes known by a whole new slew of words with seemingly fun, dark, or carefree references: Dance Fever, Friend, and Apache all the way to Goodfellas, Jackpot, Murder 8, and Tango & Cash.

The point of origin for street fentanyl moves from the pharmaceutical industry to drug cartels in Asian or Mexican “laboratories.” This fentanyl may be used on its own or to lace other substances such as heroin or marijuana.

How is Fentanyl Taken?

Fentanyl can be dosed in several ways as legally dispensed, but it can also be misused, shared by the prescribed with a friend to be helpful, or sold illegally.

Medically, fentanyl is given by:

  • Injection
  • Body patch that’s put on a person’s skin, typically in 12-hour increments for extended-release
  • Lozenge taken like a cough drop

Street fentanyl, legally or illegally manufactured and distributed, is sold in powder form, then taken by:

  • Drops, either onto blotter paper or placed in eye droppers and nasal sprays
  • Pills made to appear like other prescription opioids

Fentanyl Side Effects

Fentanyl is known to produce extreme happiness for a temporary period. Less pleasant effects include:

  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • sedation
  • problems breathing
  • unconsciousness

Fentanyl side effects can also be life-threatening.

How Does Fentanyl Addiction Begin?

When someone begins to misuse fentanyl they’ve been prescribed, its potency can cause an unintentional addiction to develop quickly, even for the most well-informed person.

Addiction develops when the effectiveness begins to taper as the body adjusts to the dosage. A person can’t achieve that high or pain relieving effect unless they take the substance more frequently or at a higher dosage.

The long warning labels exist because of this risk, but because it’s prescribed by a trusted authority, people mistakenly feel safe and remain uninformed of potential dangers.

Whether a substance such as fentanyl is doctor-prescribed or not, addiction by nature is a wily beast. Someone may come to fentanyl addiction because they trusted a pain medication a friend passed along. That friend may not have had complications with addiction, but that’s not the case for everyone.

Your loved one or you may have been surprised by how quickly fentanyl addiction gripped you and your life began to center around a drug instead of friends, family, work, and hobbies that once brought you joy.

Overdosing Often Accidental But Can Be Fatal

Lacing of street fentanyl is often done knowingly by the manufacturer to cut costs with a lighter shipping volume, but the drug dealer supplying your side of the city may not know it. You may have heard news reports about drug overdoses in eerie proximity to each other.

That’s often because the people using what they thought was a regular dose of one substance were actually getting two distinct substances, thereby doubling the dose and the side effects to the body. It’s common to hear of such occurrences and mistakenly chalk it up to an almost morbid dismissal of human life.

What they are struggling to remember is these are people who are still deserving of compassion. Someone with a fentanyl addiction could be them, their mom or dad, little sister or brother, or even their partner. Fentanyl addiction, like other drug addictions, doesn’t exist in a vacuum and is prevalent across all socioeconomic levels of society.

How is a Fentanyl Addiction Diagnosed?

A medical professional must adhere to standards prescribed to meet the medical criteria for an official diagnosis. Northpoint Colorado’s admissions team will assess you under these criteria to determine if you qualify for treatment at our licensed detox and recovery inpatient treatment center.

Withdrawal Symptoms

The level of discomfort many people feel and associate with coming down from a fentanyl high include:

  • muscle and bone pain
  • sleep problems
  • diarrhea and vomiting
  • cold flashes with goosebumps
  • uncontrollable leg movements
  • severe cravings

Due to the severity of discomfort during fentanyl withdrawal, people may give up on recovery and relapse simply to make the discomfort go away. They may refuse to seek detox or rehab for their fentanyl addiction, which is a substance use disorder in the medical sense and can be treated.

What Does Treatment For Fentanyl Addiction Look Like?

Many people addicted to fentanyl:

  • do not want to continue
  • want to find a way out
  • do not know where to turn

There are at-home kits, suggestions passed along from other people in recovery or still addicted to fentanyl, and people who try to get sober thinking they can do it by sheer willpower alone. Considering quitting can be complicated. Worries about the withdrawal side effects alone can cause a person to perpetually put off something they want—recovery—due to their fear.

People have choices when it comes to planning how they’ll quit fentanyl use, but they may not be aware of the most effective and comfortable methods, or what treatment can offer. Some may try to quit completely, while others try to reduce their substance use gradually.

Northpoint Colorado’s highly trained staff will assist you through our inpatient program that begins with detox before moving to addiction treatment over four weeks. Your full time will be spent in phases of treatment.

Detox offers you 24/7 support from a full medical team with prescription medications available to ease the discomfort of withdrawal. Therapeutic activities are also helpful, and we have integrated acudetox as part of our treatment program. You’ll be able to focus fully on your recovery.

The treatment phase will focus on the psychological aspects of your addiction. You’ll understand the root causes of your fentanyl use, manage cravings that cause relapse, and retrain your brain to function normally without fentanyl.

Aftercare will be recommended as part of your individualized recovery plan. It may include outpatient treatment and community interaction with our alumni group. Regardless of which path you take, it’s important that you continue to practice in aftercare what you’ve learned in treatment and receive support to maintain a sober lifestyle.

Northpoint Colorado Can Help With Addiction and Recovery

Northpoint Colorado’s inpatient drug rehab allows you to focus 100% on recovery, while receiving care for withdrawal before moving to treatment to help understand the reasons behind your addiction more fully. We continue to support you with step-down outpatient programs and aftercare to achieve lasting sobriety.

There is no magic formula, but evidence suggests fentanyl recovery programs that treat a person’s mental health and overall wellness, in addition to the addiction, have a stronger recovery rate. Northpoint Colorado is experienced with treating those addicted to this powerful and dangerous drug. When you call, our experienced staff is ready with free assessments and same-day admissions. We’re waiting for your call to start a renewed life at (970) 800-6112.

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