The opioid epidemic has been a thorn in the country’s side for more than 20 years. However, in just the last decade, the synthetic (man-made) opioid known as fentanyl has wreaked havoc on the lives of far too many Americans.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients and is applied via a patch on the skin.
Because it’s such a powerful opioid, fentanyl is also diverted for misuse. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its strength or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many people believe they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths. Illegally made fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico.
On the streets, fentanyl may be referred to as Apace, China Girl, China Town, China White, Dance Fever, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Poison, or Tango and Cash. Fentanyl causes intense feelings of happiness and relaxation by slowing breathing and blood pressure.
Man-made opioids have led to spikes in overdose deaths throughout the U.S. Specifically here in Arizona, there were 1,106 opioid-involved deaths reported in 2018. Synthetic opioids — such as fentanyl — accounted for 522 of those deaths.
While fentanyl addiction can be scary and life-threatening, you should know that help is out there. The first step is eliminating the toxins from your body through detox, which is then usually followed by a rehabilitation program.
Detox Services at Pinnacle Peak
From drug detox through recovery, Pinnacle Peak Recovery’s family of licensed medical and behavioral health professionals believe healing is possible for you, our client family. We are committed to lifelong success for people suffering from — and those affected by — addiction and behavioral health conditions. With our focus on care in a friendly, family-like setting, we help our clients embody a life of recovery by embracing a new design for living.
Pinnacle Peak Recovery’s Arizona detox center upholds our promise to provide clinical excellence, compassionate care, and a family feel. We believe in patient-centered, evidence-based care driven by family values in a home-like environment.
We incorporate the 12 steps into our approach but rely more heavily on evidence-based techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). We’ll be there for you every step of the way. We also help our clients with medication when needed.
The longer you are connected to care, the better your chances of success, so we work hard to maintain contact with you post-discharge through our aftercare program.
Detox addresses the physical aspect of treatment in two ways:
Physical symptoms occur upon withdrawal from, and the ending of, substance use. Withdrawal can be mildly annoying or extremely uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening if not done in a medically supervised environment.
Toxins, or harmful substances, are cleared from the system.
At Pinnacle Peak, we will do everything in our power to make your detox as comfortable as possible. Detox should not make the struggles of dealing with addiction worse. That’s why we use evidence-based treatment and can offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT), using medications such as Suboxone, if needed.
At Pinnacle Peak Recovery, you can expect:
24/7 medical care
Acute detox care and extended aftercare
Individual, group, and family therapy
Long-term inpatient (60 days, 75 days, and 90-plus days), short-term inpatient, and intensive outpatient programs
Private home inpatient environments with sober counselors and full security
Comfortable, supportive atmosphere geared toward recovery
Master’s-level therapists offering trusted therapy methods such as CBT, DBT, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
Dual diagnosis mental health support
Alumni support and services
Yoga, reiki, meditation
Organically prepared meals
Beautiful desert settings in Scottsdale, near Phoenix, Arizona
While detox is the initial step in the recovery process, it should not be considered a complete treatment program. That will come later with a full program of inpatient and outpatient treatment to develop a recovery and relapse prevention plan.
What Does Fentanyl Addiction Look Like?
Fentanyl is dangerous. The quicker you realize you have a problem, the better your chances of avoiding a serious health event.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, common signs of addiction include:
The inability to control fentanyl use
Changes in sleep habits
Frequent flu-like symptoms
Decreased libido (sex drive)
Lack of hygiene (personal cleanliness)
Changes in exercise habits
Isolation from family or friends
Stealing from family, friends or businesses
New financial problems
While it’s possible for it to happen to anyone, those with a fentanyl addiction may be more likely to overdose on the drug. Overdoses are medical emergencies. If you believe someone has overdosed on fentanyl, dial 911 immediately.
Signs of fentanyl overdose include:
Low blood pressure
Dilated pupils (black centers of the eyes enlarged)
Unable to wake up
Slowed or no breathing
Here are the steps you should take if you believe someone has overdosed on fentanyl:
If the person has stopped breathing or if breathing is very weak, begin CPR (best performed by someone who has training)
If it’s available, treat the person with naloxone (Narcan) to reverse opioid overdose
Co-Occurring Disorders (Dual Diagnosis)
Over the years, it’s become clear that co-occurring disorders are common for those battling a substance use disorder. Having co-occurring disorders, also known as a dual diagnosis, means that someone has a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time.
The NIH says, “Researchers have found that about half of individuals who experience a substance use disorder during their lives will also experience a co-occurring mental disorder and vice versa. Co-occurring disorders can include anxiety disorders, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and schizophrenia, among others.”
Just because you may have co-occurring disorders doesn’t necessarily mean one caused the other, but they can.
Sometimes, there are common risk factors that affect both substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Since both disorders can be passed down from generation to generation, genetics plays a role along with life experience and social environment.
There’s also the possibility that your mental health disorder contributed to your substance use disorder. For example, those with a mental health disorder may turn to substances to “self-medicate” to escape whatever problem(s) they’re dealing with. This can include things like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
On the other hand, a substance use disorder could contribute to a mental health disorder. Some substances can cause changes within the brain that may cause you to develop a mental health disorder.
Take the First Step Toward Recovery
“Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it.” —Barack Obama
Nothing worth doing is ever easy. We understand just how difficult it can be to overcome addiction alone. Thankfully, you don’t have to. Even if you’ve tried to get sober before and failed, that is no reason to give up. The next try might just be the one that changes your life for the better.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You deserve to live a life free of fentanyl addiction. Happiness and health are just on the horizon. Take the first step toward achieving them today.