Addiction MedicineLearn More
William D Nelson, NMD
Physical Medicine & Addiction Medicine located in North Scottsdale, AZ & Flagstaff, AZ
Fentanyl Addiction Q & A
What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a man-made opioid that has increasingly found its way into the illegal drug trade over the last 10 years. It has become the “street” opioid of choice because of its potency and availability since prescription opioids have become more expensive and difficult to obtain. Fentanyl in Arizona is most commonly found in “fake” Percocet 30’s, but is now also found in “fake” Xanax bars, heroin, ecstasy, crystal meth and even some marijuana.
What is fentanyl addiction
Fentanyl is very addictive. The pain relief and euphoric effects are strong but do not last long. Patients quickly develop a tolerance to the drug which will require that they’ll need more fentanyl to have the same effect. Also, fentanly is eliminated from the body relatively quickly creating a “dependence” on frequent dosing in order to prevent “dope sick” from withdrawals.
The availability of fentanyl, the potency, the ease of developing tolerance and dependence, and the severity of withdrawal symptoms make fentanyl addiction very difficult to stop and very dangerous to continue.
What are Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms?
Within 10 - 15 hours after the last dose most fentanyl dependent people will experience withdrawal symptoms. The severity and length of time people experience withdrawals depends on the daily amount consumed and the length of time they have been using. Symptoms make include some or all of the following; sweats, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, bone pains, muscle spasms, restless leg, insomia, increased heart rate, nervous anxiety, skin crawling, runny nose, yawning, eyes tearing, and pupil dilation.
What is Fentanyl “Harm Reduction?”
The most important aspect of treatment in harm prevention. Many people addicted to fentanyl are not ready to quit. In this case our treatment focuses on “harm prevention” until they are ready to become sober. Harm prevention requires that every person addicted to fentanyl has an adequate supply of Narcan to be used in case of an overdose. Also, people should never use fentanyl alone in case of an overdose. Lastly, people using fentanyl by injecting into their veins should never share needles. For free Narcan kits please contact our office or Sonoran Prevention Works. https://spwaz.org/
What is the most important element of successful treatment for fentanyl addiction?
Many parents of addicted loved ones ask, “Dr. Nelson, what is your success rate for addiction?”
My simple answer is 100%. Then I remain silent.
After an awkward pause, usually the parents ask “are you serious?”
Then I explain that if a person addicted to fentanyl is 100% committed to sobriety and does everything we propose in our treatment plan, they’ll enjoy life-changing permanent sobriety. If they are not committed or they are here against their will or in order to receive conditional support, they’ll predictably fail. This truthful and revealing conversation properly shifts the focus of successful treatment from the doctor to the patient. In short, we have incredible success with those people committed to recovery
What is the best treatment for fentanyl addiction?
- Withdrawal Support
- Medical Assisted Treatment [MAT]
- Personal Development and Creating Health
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)
- NAD+ is an intravenous (IV) treatment that helps restore your neurologic and brain chemistry to significantly reduce fentanyl cravings, improve mental and physical energy levels, enhance concentration, and relieve anxiety and depression during the detox process.
- Vivitrol is an injectable treatment that can help prevent opioid relapse after the detox process. That means you cannot have opioids in your system when you start the Vivitrol protocol.
- Naltrexone is an FDA-approved treatment that helps block the effects of opioids, including fentanyl. At Explore Health, Dr. Nelson offers implantable naltrexone pellets.
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