Carfentanil, one of the newer and most deadly opioids affecting the nation’s opioid crisis, is 100 times stronger than the opioid killer Fentanyl and sometimes marketed as a white powder that looks like heroin or cocaine. As a lab-manufactured synthetic opioid, it is very cheap and highly potent and continues to be abused. It is powerfully strong enough to sedate a 2,000-pound elephant. Police officers overdose on it just after touching it. It is sometimes added to heroin to increase heroin’s potency and 10,000 times stronger than the prescription opioid morphine.
Carfentanil has also been linked to “Gray Death,” a deadly drug mixture that combines heroin and synthetic opioids. The risk of overdosing on even a small dose of “Gray Death” is severely high.
It gives users a feeling of ecstasy which ultimately leads to what may be a severe opioid addiction.
However, without proper detox or treatment, this drug is a very real threat to U.S. public health.
Although it is a synthetic opioid drug, drug users are not addicted to the substance itself, but rather the fact that it is cut into another strong opioid like heroin. If an overdose occurs, that person will most likely experience some level of medical detoxification and carfentanil withdrawal.
Common carfentanil symptoms are similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms, which include:
This opioid withdrawal can range from one week to a month depending on the severity of symptoms. A medical detox program for opioid addiction and the physical dependence on carfentanil is essential for recovery.
The type of opioid, the manner in which it was ingested, the dosage amount and the individual’s physical and mental health all affect the timeline of carfentanil. With that said, Carfentanil is a fast-acting drug and its withdrawal symptoms may appear as early as six hours from the last dose. Typically, opioid withdrawal symptoms start as early as six hours from the last dose to up to four days later. Some carfentanil withdrawal symptoms may even last for weeks or months even after the initial medical detox and withdrawal. Ongoing symptoms of carfentanil withdrawal may include:
While most opioid medical detoxes and withdrawals don’t always result in death, the following symptoms may be experienced:
Withdrawing from carfentanil on one’s own can intensify matters, but the reality is that withdrawal symptoms from opioids necessitate medical treatment.
Detoxing from opioids in a safe environment means receiving the support of a compassionate team of medical doctors, psychiatrists, registered nurses, and addiction professionals. Although it’s an important step, carfentanil medical detoxification is just the first step and it is not enough for users to achieve long-term abstinence.
Withdrawing from opioids such as carfentanil requires medical management in order for the brain and body to work together without the presence of the drug. Detox and withdrawal can range from person to person which is why it’s important to start the recovery journey where one’s withdrawal symptoms are monitored, and medications can be prescribed to treat any complications that may occur.
In this way, one’s chance of full recovery is increased, and the chances of relapse are decreased. Medical detox can help with the process of identifying psychological and emotional triggers to help one learn how to cope with the addiction.
Carfentanil use disorder requires medical detoxification in which the body is constantly getting rid of toxins and opiate substances that have increased substance use disorder.
Medications can certainly reduce withdrawal symptoms during detox.
However, a successful, full recovery with medication-assisted detox enlists medical professionals who can ensure the patient is supervised if or when dangerous complications arise during the medical detoxification.
A medical team consisting of doctors, nurses and staff will conduct intake of one’s level of carfentanil addiction and health needs, thus jumpstarting the detox process. Detox at Arete Recovery also includes FDA-approved medications to limit withdrawal symptoms to prevent relapse.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), counseling and other behavioral therapies are a big part of coming clean with opiate addiction. In therapy, users will learn how to replace drugs by identifying other activities and employing new drug resistance skills. Motivation and problem-solving skills address mental resistance, and coping skills help one learn ways to function in both family and community settings. Therapists will also teach problem-solving techniques as well as identifying triggers and motivations for taking the drug.
The next step of treating substance abuse is to be admitted to an inpatient or residential program. The specialists at Arete Recovery will recommend the right program based on the detoxification process and the severity of one’s case and symptoms. Generally speaking, an inpatient recovery program extends for 45 days and is better suited for a short-term recovery period. When addiction is more severe, one might be recommended for a residential recovery program which is appropriate for a long-term recovery period lasting anywhere from 60-90+ days.
Both of these programs help minimize the number of treatments which can be quite intense. A “resident” learns important coping mechanisms that can ultimately help with preventing relapse and are better equipped for long-term recovery and the transitioning to an outpatient program.
Beyond the walls of the inpatient clinic and residential recovery is a new, clean world that can be intimidating for the user who is relearning how to navigate life without addiction and drugs for the first time. An intensive outpatient program provides ongoing counseling as the user navigates life.
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If you or a loved one is struggling to stay hopeful while dealing with a carfentanil addiction, know that you are not alone. You have hope! The caring, trained medical staff of at Arete Recovery, your medical detox, and residential treatment center, want to help you get through every stage of your recovery journey successfully. Call us now to speak with one of our addiction specialists for more information.
“Fentanyl.” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/fentanyl
“Opioid Overdose.” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,19 Dec. 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/fentanyl.html
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “FDA Approves First Medication to Reduce Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms.” NIDA, 16 May 2018 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2018/05/fda-approves-first-medication-to-reduce-opioid-withdrawal-symptoms
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “9: Counseling and Other Behavioral Therapies.” NIDA from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-addiction-science/brain-actions-cocaine-opioids-marijuana
“Opioid Overdose.” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Dec. 2018 from http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/fentanyl.html