What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever similar to other narcotics like heroin and morphine, but 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. The use of Fentanyl produces feelings of relaxation by blocking pain receptors and induces euphoria by increasing dopamine levels. As a result, Fentanyl easily makes the user build up tolerance and develop a full-blown addiction.

Prescription forms of Fentanyl are Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze, Subsys, Abstral, Lazanda. The drug is also sold on the street under various names: dance fever, goodfella, China girl, TNT, tango, Apache.

What is Fentanyl prescribed for?

Fentanyl is prescribed for the treatment of acute and chronic pain, such as surgery recovery, cancer treatment and breakthrough pain — in patients that are already taking high doses of a less potent opioid such as morphine or oxycodone but are still experiencing pain. It is often abused by anaesthetists in hospitals and can cause chronic pancreatitis.

Abuse of fentanyl can depress the respiratory system to the point of failure, leading to a fatal overdose. Psychological signs of fentanyl addiction include depression, anxiety and paranoia attacks, mood disorders, hallucinations. Physically, the user may experience slowed breathing, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, itching and respiratory depression to the point of failure, which can lead to a fatal overdose.

Rehabilitation and Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl Detox

Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze) withdrawal symptoms typically set-in from 6-36 hours after the last use of the drug and it manifests through chills, hot flashes, sweats, confusion, irritability, loss of appetite and muscle aches.

Fentanyl detox at Castle Craig Rehab involves a thorough pre-assessment by our Consultant Psychiatrist to determine the patient’s personalised detox programme. They will gather all information about the patient’s medical condition and drug use history and advise if medication is needed to ease the fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and how quickly fentanyl can be tapered and stopped.

The patient’s physical comfort and safety during fentanyl detox is our utmost priority. We provide medically supervised detox: nurses monitor each patient’s withdrawal signs round-the-clock so that any medication intake can be adjusted accordingly. Depending on individual patient needs, other medication may be used to help ease the Actiq, Duragesic or Sublimaze withdrawal process.

The duration of fentanyl detox will depend on how much of the medication is in the patient’s body and for how long they had been using Actiq, Duragesic or Sublimaze, as well as other drugs. Fentanyl detox usually takes from a few days to a week.

Rehabilitation and Treatment

The fentanyl detox phase is followed by psychotherapy and behavioural treatment within our residential rehab programme. During therapy, the patient, along with their personal therapist address the psychological root causes for the fentanyl addiction. Patients learn to identify triggers and use coping skills such as assertiveness, self-confidence, inner strength.

At Castle Craig Rehab we offer an integrated program for fentanyl detox and addiction to fentanyl medication such as Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze. Each patient works on their individual treatment plan with their personal therapist. Each day is carefully structured into individual counselling and group therapy sessions, along with other complementary therapies, educational lectures and relapse prevention seminars. A healthy, regular diet and exercise are also part of the plan.

Our fentanyl rehab programme also makes use of 12-step support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which will be a valuable resource during fentanyl aftercare.