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The Devastating Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl is a factor in more half of overdose deaths

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid used medically to treat severe pain. The abuse of this drug has become a serious public health concern, with devastating effects on individuals and communities.

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If you are struggling with fentanyl, it is essential to seek medical help and support immediately. Recovery Centers of America’s team of medical and mental health professionals is here to provide comprehensive addiction care to help you overcome substance use disorder and achieve long-term recovery.

  • Contact 1-800-RECOVERY to speak with a treatment advocate 24/7/365
  • No cost intervention services available exclusively through RCA
  • Verify your insurance benefits here
  • One of our transportation specialists will pick you up wherever you are in 2 hours or less

Don’t wait another day to get the help you need. Contact the RCA team today to begin the journey towards a healthy, fulfilling life. We are committed to supporting you every step of the way, providing personalized treatment options and evidence-based therapies to help you achieve your goals.

Together, we can overcome your fentanyl addiction and build a brighter future.

Contact Recovery Centers of America now and take the first step towards long-lasting recovery.


Recovery from fentanyl is possible with professional help, and support from family and loved ones. It’s essential to seek professional treatment to overcome fentanyl addiction, and Recovery Centers of America provides comprehensive support and care that is both empathetic and effective. 

At RCA, we identify the SOURCE of addiction and offer customized treatment that eliminates the SYMPTOMS and addresses the day-to-day societal CONTRIBUTORS that get in the way. 

Our clinical treatment program includes:

  • Diagnostic assessment: A healthcare professional will assess the severity of addiction, including physical and mental health, family history, and co-occurring disorders.
  • Medically monitored detoxification in a safe and comfortable environment
  • Individualized Treatment Plan: Addiction treatment can include a range of services, including medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, group therapy, and family therapy.
  • Skills-based coaching: The development of skills and strategies to prevent relapse and address triggers or temptations that may arise during recovery.
  • Introduction to the 12-step program: Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can provide encouragement and support from others who have experienced a similar struggle.
  • Alumni Services: A supportive community of individuals who are in recovery that offer continued support, networking opportunities, and resources to help maintain long-term recovery.

Our caring and experienced staff are dedicated to providing personalized care to each person struggling with addiction to promote a healthy and sustainable recovery.

Don’t let fentanyl control your life – contact Recovery Centers of America today to get the help you or your loved one needs to start on the path to recovery.

Fentanyl Related Deaths

In the United States, fentanyl is that it is now responsible for more overdose deaths than any other drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2019, nearly 37,500 people died from opioid overdoses, with almost 60% of those deaths involving fentanyl.

Fentanyl abuse statistics indicate it is the world’s deadliest opioid, causing almost half of all overdose deaths nationwide

Less than 0.007% of an ounce of fentanyl causes certain death

Statistics indicate 42,700 fentanyl overdose deaths in 2020

How Fentanyl Negatively Impacts Your Life


Fentanyl abuse can lead to severe physical health problems, including respiratory depression, heart failure, seizures, and even overdose. Individuals may also experience weakened immune systems, gastrointestinal issues, and other complications, leading to a significantly reduced quality of life.


Fentanyl abuse can cause severe psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. It can also lead to disorientation, confusion, and poor decision-making, impacting the ability to sustain personal and professional relationships.


Fentanyl abuse can cause serious financial burdens for individuals and families. The cost of obtaining and maintaining fentanyl addiction can cause a financial strain, potentially leading to debt, loss of employment, and other harmful effects on overall well-being.


Fentanyl abuse can create social isolation, detachment from loved ones, and affect one’s ability to communicate inflicting damage on relationships. It can cause criminal activity to secure more of the drug and impact the ability to meet social and professional obligations, leading to legal and other issues.

What is fentanyl and how is it made?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, easier to produce than most opioids because it doesn’t require access to fresh opium poppies. It is also among the most potent of drugs, up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Some of its many analogues, such as carfentanil, are even more potent—as much as 10,000 times stronger than morphine. It’s typically made in laboratories both legitimate and illicit. Legitimate fentanyl is produced as a pain medication which sometimes gets diverted to the black market. Illicit fentanyl that’s most commonly found on the streets of major US cities, typically comes Mexican laboratories who synthesize it using precursor chemicals shipped from China.

Because there are innumerable ways to “tweak” the basic fentanyl formula, the drug is difficult to regulate effectively: it’s easy for illicit manufacturers to claim their formulas aren’t technically illegal. This scheme has been particularly abused by Chinese laboratories creating dozens of fentanyl analogues to skirt Chinese and American regulations.

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Where did fentanyl come from?

Originally developed as an intravenous anesthetic in 1957, fentanyl was first sold under the trade name Sublimaze. Starting in the mid-1990s, other means of administration began appearing—skin patches, lollipops, tablets, nasal and under-the-tongue sprays—and such slow-release options made the drug increasingly popular for easing severe pain in terminally ill patients. Fentanyl is a Schedule II drug under U.S. law, meaning it can be prescribed for medical use but also has high potential for abuse.

In 2007, fentanyl first appeared as a street heroin additive, an illicit use that has become common—and deadly.

What are the side effects of fentanyl?

Fairly common side effects from taking prescribed fentanyl include darkened bowel movements, heavy perspiration, coughing, chest pain, blurry vision, dry mouth, chills, increased thirst, lightheadedness, aching back or side, tingling in extremities, muscle cramps, mood swings, sore throat, and tinnitus.

Less common side effects—which should always be reported to the prescribing doctor—include severe stomach pain, loss of muscle coordination, pounding headache, hallucinations, seizures, body tremors, and irregular heartbeat.

How is medical fentanyl used?

Fentanyl is prescribed primarily in cases of severe and incurable pain, typically in a hospital setting. Cancer patients who have been declared terminal are frequent prescription recipients. Some fentanyl versions are used as large-animal tranquilizers because potent doses are inexpensive.

Fentanyl and its analogues are so potent that professionals handle them only under extremely controlled conditions. Law-enforcement officials investigating suspected fentanyl labs often use the same hazmat protection that’s standard for toxic chemical spills.

How is illicit fentanyl used by people?

Because fentanyl is typically prescribed in patch form to patients who feel any pain relief would be an improvement, fewer addictions start as legitimate prescriptions than with many other drugs. There’s a bigger risk if prescriptions are furnished in the easily consumable, easily alterable pill form. Someone really desperate for a stronger, faster effect might heat a patch to make it release fentanyl faster, or rip it open to get to the whole dose at once.

More commonly, illicit fentanyl is purchased as a street drug—either alone or as part of a heroin mix—and snorted, injected, or taken as a pill. Sometimes it’s used to saturate blotter paper, which is then placed under the tongue.

What are the signs of fentanyl use? How can you tell if someone is high on fentanyl?

Symptoms of fentanyl addiction and use include: bouts of euphoria and drowsiness, lethargy, loss of interest in old activities, slowed breathing, difficulty walking, pinpoint pupils, shakiness, dizziness, itching, slurred speech, extreme sleepiness, “nodding” off and swelling in the limbs. Physical signs of injection sites such as scarring, scabbing or dark marks around veins.

What are the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal?

Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal include: chronic irritability, restless legs, inability to find comfort, dysphoria, chills, heavy perspiration, insomnia, dilated pupils, diarrhea, and anxiety.

What are the signs of fentanyl overdose?

Symptoms of fentanyl overdose include: sudden collapse, unresponsiveness, faint pulse, lips turning blue, “gurgling” breathing, frothing at the mouth, stiffening muscles, slowing heart rate, and disorientation. When you call 911, make sure to say if you think it’s fentanyl that caused the overdose—because the drug is so potent, it requires a stronger-than-standard anti-opiate dose to minimize harmful effects.

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