Duragesic (fentanyl) is a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is administered via a transdermal patch, and given to patients suffering from chronic pain who are regularly taking, and/or are tolerant to, other narcotic pain medications. It functions by altering how the central nervous system responds to pain signals.
Duragesic can be habit-forming and must be taken exactly as directed by your doctor. Taking a larger dose, or taking it more frequently or for a longer period of time than prescribed, can lead to physical dependence, addiction, overdose and death.
If you or someone you love is addicted to Duragesic, call 800 774 5796 now, and let us connect you with the ideal addiction treatment provider for your unique needs.
Understanding Duragesic Abuse
When prescribed by a medical doctor, the Duragesic form of fentanyl is administered by a transdermal patch. The medication is released slowly over three days. Although some patients under a doctor’s care do become addicted to the drug, most fentanyl-related deaths are related to illegally made doses of fentanyl. The drug sometimes appears as a counterfeit pill version of a similar, but less powerful drug, such as oxycodone.
The Duragesic transdermal patch should only ever be taken via the skin. It should never be put in the mouth to be sucked, chewed or swallowed. Doing so will result in the rapid ingestion of dangerously high levels of fentanyl.
Like heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, Duragesic attaches to opioid receptors in the brain, blocking pain signals. Because opioid receptors are located in the brain’s reward center, they can also cause the brain to release more dopamine, commonly known as the “feel-good” chemical, producing a state of euphoria and relaxation.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, other brand names of fentanyl include Actiq, Onsolis, and Sublimaze. Street names for the drug include apache, china girl, china white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, percopop, tango and cash.
Signs and Symptoms of Duragesic Abuse
Some signs and symptoms of Duragesic abuse may include:
- appearing drunk without the consumption of alcohol
- needing to refill a prescription before it is due
- changes in mood
- changes in appearance or hygiene
- mental clouding
- isolation from family and friends
- secretive behavior
- changes in eating habits
- nervousness and restlessness
- lack of interest in activities the user previously enjoyed
Dangers of Duragesic Abuse
Sustained use of Duragesic will create a tolerance for the drug, forcing addicts to increase their dosage to experience the same effects. Taking large amounts of Duragesic will increase the number and severity of side effects, and cause the user to run a much greater risk of fatality.
Opioid receptors are found in the same areas of the brain that control breathing. The fact sheet on fentanyl from the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that “high doses of opioids, especially potent opioids such as fentanyl, can cause breathing to stop completely, which can lead to death. The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains fentanyl. Fentanyl sold on the street can be mixed with heroin or cocaine, which markedly amplifies its potency and potential dangers.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, potential effects of taking Duragesic can include:
- respiratory depression and arrest
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Who Abuses Duragesic?
A person of any age, gender, financial status, or ethnicity can become addicted to Duragesic (fentanyl). According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, “regular use—even as prescribed by a doctor—can produce dependence, and when misused or abused, opioid pain relievers can lead to fatal overdose. The current epidemic of prescription opioid abuse has led to increased use of heroin, which presents similar dangers.”
People who seek out illegally manufactured fentanyl usually do so because they already have an opioid addiction and have developed a tolerance for other narcotics. Some people take fentanyl without realizing it, as the drug often appears as counterfeit forms of other opioid medications, or mixed in with heroin or cocaine.
Addicts may take Duragesic to combat feelings of anxiety, to self-medicate depression, or to enjoy feelings of euphoria, but the potency of the drug means that the chance of accidental overdose is high, and the symptoms of withdrawal are severe, making anyone who regularly abuses Duragesic physically unable to quit the drug on their own.
People who are addicted to Duragesic (fentanyl) will experience serious withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop taking the drug. The U.S. National Library of Medicine instructs that individuals should seek medical attention if they experience any of the following symptoms of withdrawal:
- teary eyes
- runny nose
- muscle pain
- large pupils (black circles in the center of the eyes)
- pain in the joints
- stomach cramps
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- nausea vomiting, diarrhea
- loss of appetite
- fast heartbeat
- rapid breathing
When used legally, under a doctor’s instructions, Duragesic can improve a patient’s quality of life during cancer treatment, severe injury, or recovery from surgery. But overuse and abuse will lead to addiction, and serious mental and physical consequences. Taking illegal forms of the drug is especially dangerous, as the lack of federal oversight means the amount of fentanyl in individual pills, lozenges, etc., may vary greatly.
Am I Addicted to Duragesic?
If you fear that you may be addicted to Duragesic (fentanyl), ask yourself the questions below:
- Do I abuse Duragesic every day?
- Do I abuse the drug in order to combat feelings of unhappiness, loneliness, depression, etc.?
- Have friends or family members mentioned more than once that they are worried about my drug use?
- Do I become hostile or angry when they do so?
- Do I ever experience side effects or withdrawal symptoms such as those listed above?
- Do I feel like I can’t have fun, be normal, or complete everyday tasks without Duragesic?
- Am I secretive about my drug use, and/or do I lie about when I use or how much I take?
- Do I need more and more Duragesic each time I abuse the drug in order to feel its effects?
- Have I experienced any major problems in the last year, such as a breakup, job loss, car accident, family problems, financial problems, or getting arrested as a result of my drug use?
- Despite these problems, do I feel unable to stop using Duragesic on my own?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be addicted to Duragesic and in need of professional substance abuse help.
Duragesic Addiction Treatment
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. The NIDA explains that “repeated drug use changes the brain, including parts of the brain that enable you to exert self-control. These and other changes can be seen clearly in brain imaging studies of people with drug addictions.”
This is why addicts require professional help to break the devastating cycle of addiction. The treatment specialists at a qualified drug and alcohol rehab are trained in how to manage substance abuse issues and lead addicts safely to recovery.
Detoxification is the first step to any recovery plan. A person needs clarity of mind and a body free from addictive substances before they can be effectively treated. Because withdrawal from Duragesic can be extremely unpleasant, detoxing in a rehab center under the care of medical professionals is ideal. A doctor will likely have you taper off of Duragesic gradually, to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Whether addicts choose inpatient residential treatment, and/or outpatient treatment, all substance abuse recovery plans will include talk therapy.
Individual therapy allows patients to work intensively on issues specific only to them, while group therapy allows them to both support and experience support from other addicts who are struggling with similar challenges. Family therapy is an important tool to ensure individuals encounter the best possible environment at home, to prevent relapse.
Other treatment options include:
- 12-step meetings: Meetings based on the 12-step program that originated with Alcoholics Anonymous are an invaluable resource to support long term sobriety.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: CBT teaches patients to retrain their brains with new methods of coping with stress and cravings, and avoiding trigger situations.
- Treatment for co-occurring conditions: most addicts suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues that underlie and fuel their substance abuse. These co-occurring disorders must be addressed as a part of recovery.
- Nutrition, fitness and recreational therapy: a strong body is just as important as a strong mind when it comes to long-term recovery. The better a person feels, the more prepared they will be to handle life as it comes.
Seek Help Today
Although addiction to Duragesic is an extremely serious problem, recovery is possible. Call 800 774 5796 now to speak to one of our treatment advisors. We will direct you to the best substance abuse care for your needs.
Don’t wait another day to start transforming your life for the better.