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What You Should Know About Fentanyl Addiction Treatment for Teens

Abuse of prescription opioids among teenagers has been on the decline in recent years. But unfortunately, overdose deaths among teenagers are on the rise, due in part to the growing use of illegal synthetic opioid pain relievers such as fentanyl.

Fentanyl is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, and it only takes a small amount for users to experience feelings of intense pleasure and euphoria. Drug dealers often add fentanyl to heroin and other substances to create a less-expensive drug that still produces a powerful high. As a result, many people end up taking fentanyl without knowing it – and because the drug is so strong, the chances of experiencing an overdose are greatly increased.

Teens who abuse fentanyl and other opioids are also at increased risk of engaging in other types of dangerous behavior. They are five times more likely than other teens to attempt suicide, drive drunk, get into fights, carry guns or other weapons, or engage in risky sexual activity, one study reported. If your teen is addicted to this dangerous drug, don’t wait to get help. Contact Safe Landing today at 844-486-7205.

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What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl has been in use for more than 50 years. It has only recently become one of the most common drugs in use by teens, with the growing number and risk of overdose from fentanyl. Fentanyl achieved national notoriety as the drug that contributed to the recent deaths of the popular musicians Tom Petty and Prince.

Fentanyl is involved in 59% of opioid-related deaths, according to a recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is possible to overdose on fentanyl alone, or when it is mixed with heroin or other opioids. Fentanyl-laced heroin is up to 50 times more potent than regular heroin, making it extremely dangerous and a major cause of opioid-related deaths.

The range of symptoms for fentanyl addiction can be varied, but the same experience applies. Your teen’s brain creates artificial endorphins, which block pain. They may experience that feeling of euphoria. It can be especially tempting for a teen to rely on that false feeling. (And, the brain can stop producing its own endorphins, which exacerbates the problem.)

The short-term side effects are the same as what is commonly experienced with any morphine or opioid use. The initial feeling of euphoric calmness and tranquility can turn to restlessness, anxiety, depression, muscle aches, an inability to concentrate, and insomnia.

Is fentanyl legal?

In its legal versions, often prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain after surgery, it is administered as patches, shots or lozenges. Illegal fentanyl, known by its street names Dance Fever, China Girl, Apache, Tango & Cash, King Ivory and others, can be found in eye droppers or nasal sprays, as a powder, on blotter paper, or as pills that are made to look like other prescription opioids.

Fentanyl is extremely addictive in teens, especially in the illegally produced forms that don’t have prescribed dosage amounts. This often leads teens to take more than they may have intended, which can accelerate the addiction. Even if teens use legal fentanyl prescribed by a doctor, it is still possible to become addicted after just a few days.

Signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction

Teens who use fentanyl often show signs of typical drug-addicted behavior – cravings for the drug, compulsive use and impaired judgement. They may also experience a wide range of physical symptoms such as blurred vision, slurred or slow speech, drowsiness, confusion, nausea and slowed breathing.

An addiction to fentanyl also causes many young users to ignore their relationships and responsibilities: withdrawal from family or social events, absences or poor performance at school, abandoning hobbies or activities that they once found enjoyable, and the inability to perform even the most routine chores and activities.

Other signs of a teen fentanyl addiction include:

Why is fentanyl dangerous for teenagers?

If you look at human biology, it takes 20 years for the human brain to fully develop. So, that means that a teen’s brain is still in the process of developing.  Drug use and abuse interferes with that development. It also stunts cognitive ability. 

As if the teen years were not confusing enough, drugs affect a teen’s ability to regulate emotion. Drugs can also affect the prefrontal cortex. That’s the part of the brain that handles decision making, impulsivity, judgment, and reasoning. 

Drugs negatively affect the development of the brain, but teen drug use also increases the likelihood that that individual will develop more addictions later in life. This can indirectly lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular health issues such as heart disease, heart failure, or high blood pressure, mental disorders, or sleep disorders.

What happens during detox for fentanyl?

Withdrawal symptoms from fentanyl abuse can be severe. The body is reacting to the absence of the drug after it has become dependent upon it, and that is never a pleasant experience. It’s not easy to quit “cold turkey” and that’s why we recommend seeking out medical intervention and care at an inpatient detox facility. 

The addictive qualities of the drug are very powerful and depending on how much and how often a teen has been using fentanyl, a fully supervised medical detox program may be the best option for overcoming the addiction. 

During a teen’s drug rehab, as a person begins to withdraw from fentanyl, they experience physical and mental symptoms – agitation, anxiety, aches and pains, sweating, and generally feeling restless and tired. As withdrawal progresses, the symptoms may become more severe – vomiting, nausea, cramping, spasms, and diarrhea.

For someone who has used fentanyl for a long time and developed a strong dependence, the struggle to get through withdrawal can be even more difficult and dangerous. When withdrawal is this intense, medications and clinical assistance are needed. 

Doctors may prescribe or recommend prescription or over-the-counter medications to treat withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, cravings, diarrhea, fever, pain sensitivity, flu-like symptoms, irritability and depression, and stomach cramping. 

Buprenorphine, naltrexone, methadone, and other drugs have been successful in decreasing cravings for fentanyl and increasing the chances of a successful recovery.

Specialized fentanyl addiction treatment

Our teen fentanyl rehab program includes a combination of evidence-based and supplemental care. We provide individual counseling to get to the root causes of the addiction, group counseling and life skills training to help your teen learn how to live differently, and family addiction counseling to work through any problems within the family unit that may be contributing to addiction.

We also include social components that help teens bond with others and have fun while under supervision. Our facility provides co-ed programs with separate housing for boys and girls. Teen fentanyl use may seem common and normal, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. Taking drugs in teen years can cause many consequences that can impact your teen’s life for years to come, potentially for a lifetime. 

At Safe Landing teen rehab center in Miami, Florida, we only treat clients aged 13 through 17, so we’re deeply invested in helping adolescents experience healing and recovery — for a bright future without alcohol and substance abuse like fentanyl. 

We’re passionate about offering the best comprehensive and reliable rehab programs for teens who are dealing with alcohol addiction. We want them to feel safe, heard, and cared about in an environment focused on supporting their healing and learning experiences both now and in the future. Our goal is to help them succeed, but to do that they first have to achieve health and wellness through sobriety. 

Next step: Schedule an Appointment to Find Out About Treatment Options for Fentanyl

The best way to help your teen is to seek out medical intervention. When you contact us at Safe Landing, we’ll discuss fentanyl addiction treatment options, explore the programs that might be best for your teenager’s situation, and offer suggestions for how to get started with treatment. Intervention is so important. It could literally change a life and help to ensure the best chance of success and a bright future.

Don’t wait to get help for your teen. At Safe Landing, we’re here to help you initiate a positive conversation with your teen about his or her substance abuse. We provide a safe and supportive environment where your teen can work toward a better, more fulfilling life without drugs or alcohol. 

Call us at 844-486-7205 — Safe Landing is here to help your teen with their fentanyl recovery today!

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