Are Fentanyl Patches Addictive?
Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid responsible for most overdoses. While it's not discussed often, many people are addicted to fentanyl and were first exposed to the drug through patches. Patches are used for many people with moderate-to-severe pain from chronic conditions, surgery, and terminal illnesses like cancer. Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid involved in most overdose deaths in the United States. Between 2021 and 2022, over 100,000 Americans were lost to opioid overdoses. Many of these people were first exposed to the drugs via prescription, while others may have used them accidentally. Fentanyl patch users are sometimes diagnosed with opioid use disorder.
Fentanyl transdermal patches are highly addictive. Even when used correctly, a patient can experience tolerance and drug dependence. In addition, using more than one patch or combining opioids with a fentanyl patch can lead to a deadly overdose.
What Are Fentanyl Patches?
Fentanyl patches are an efficient way to deliver fentanyl directly to the bloodstream through the skin. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are typically responsible for overseeing the use of fentanyl patches. People who are suffering from acute pain or who are on low-dose opioids should never be able to qualify for a prescription patch. Patches are one the last painkilling tools in a doctor's arsenal and should only be used if most other alternatives have been tried.
People who drink regularly or use other substances recreationally are not appropriate for fentanyl patch patients. Because the patch delivers fentanyl directly into a person's bloodstream, there is a high chance of overdose and side effects when combined with other drugs. In addition, people on fentanyl patches for pain relief should be regularly monitored for substance use disorder symptoms.
Patches take up to 24 hours to deliver the full, steady dose of fentanyl. When users try to abuse a patch, they may not understand the drug's potency. In addition, if they become impatient about dosing, they may put more than one patch on their skin, which could stop their breathing once fully absorbed.
ERs have also seen cases where drug users have managed to extract fentanyl from a patch and inject it. This results in an overdose, which can cause a drug user to stop breathing. Overdoses involving fentanyl are harder to rescue users from – they often take more containers of Naloxone than most overdoses.
Fentanyl Patches and Opioid Addiction
Addiction to fentanyl patches is unsustainable. They contain very high doses of fentanyl. They are highly regulated and hard to "sneak" or find outside medical settings. Many people addicted to fentanyl patches will seek to substitute street drugs if they are cut off from their patch supply. The fentanyl found on the street and via online apps is volatile. Some will be too strong for users or mixed with something else. The supply chain is unreliable and dangerous for opioid users.
Fentanyl addiction is a powerful substance use disorder that requires Treatment. Most people will have withdrawal symptoms if they cannot taper from fentanyl. Medical tapering with Medication-Assisted Treatment are both valid ways to get sober from fentanyl use.
Getting Help for Addiction
Medication-Assisted Treatment alongside therapy is considered the gold standard of Treatment for opioid use disorder.
Get in touch if you need help with your opioid addiction. We provide compassionate care in person or via telehealth. Call us at 910-295-7246 to learn more about our programs and how we can help.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.