Carfentanil Rehab: Recovering from the Most Powerful Opioid Ever

Every single day, more than 130 Americans lose their lives to an opioid overdose. And up until a few decades ago, heroin was the main cause of these deaths.

However, as the opioid epidemic continued to rage on, prescription medications like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin soon started leaving more dead than heroin. And in just the past few years, a new threat emerged that has eclipsed both heroin and prescription painkillers – synthetic opioids like carfentanil.

These exceedingly powerful drugs killed nearly 30 thousand people in 2017 alone.

But overcoming a carfentanil addiction is possible despite its overwhelming potency. And the absolute best way of doing so is partnering with a professional carfentanil rehabilitation program.

This guide covers all you need to know about carfentanil rehab, from the initial stages and withdrawal all the way through to counseling, therapy, and eventual recovery.

How is Addiction Treated at Opioid Rehabs?

Carfentanil is an incredibly potent and monstrously powerful synthetic opioid drug. And treating it successfully requires the help of a professional opioid detox and rehabilitation treatment program.

An opioid treatment facility is a place that specifically offers help to people who are addicted to these types of drugs. It requires a certain type of treatment, and not all approaches will be effective.

Most programs will employ one-on-one counseling, group talk sessions, and behavioral therapies. But only after treating the initial stages of withdrawal first – and these can be incredibly uncomfortable.

It’s important to choose a facility where the staff understands this addiction. In many ways, it’s different from addictions to other types of opioid drugs. You only want to work with professionals who have successfully treated people who have used carfentanil before.

You will want to get professional treatment for your addiction, rather than trying to quit alone. This is because the problem is actually made up of two parts. You have the physical addiction, which is what causes you to crave drugs. You also have the psychological part, which causes you to believe you need them.

When you get help from a drug rehab, they understand how complex your addiction is. They’ll be able to assist you with getting the help you need to quit. Trying to quit on your own carries a host of risks.

But there is also a range of other benefits to attending a carfentanil addiction treatment program compared to trying to quit on your own. Below are just some of the most noteworthy.

  • Access to special addiction medications that can make withdrawals and cravings far less severe.
  • A dedicated medical staff that both prevent and treat serious (and deadly) complications
  • A range of amenities that can make the recovery far more comfortable and successful
  • Dual diagnosis programs to help identify underlying problems like depression or anxiety
  • A network of connections that can offer support long after graduating from a program
  • Additional life strategies that can help patients more effectively cope with stress

What Happens When You Begin Treatment?

From the moment you walk through the door, you’ll be welcomed warmly. You’ll be introduced to staff, and eventually you’ll also meet other patients. You’ll get an assessment done right away. This will help staff members understand the depth of your addiction. They’ll be able to immediately pinpoint the types of treatment you need.

Once your assessment is finished, you’ll be ready to start detox and then rehab. This means treating the different components of your addiction separately.

After that, you’ll begin treatment. A professional addiction treatment plan is usually split up into two distinct and equally important phases: detoxification and rehabilitation.

Detoxification: Step 1 of Recovery

Carfentanil is a powerful drug that affects the mind and the body in many ways. Those effects are compounded if you use it alongside other drugs, like heroin. If you’ve ever gone without using, you understand how difficult withdrawal can be. This is why it’s important for you to go through detox first.

Drug detox works because it addresses your withdrawal symptoms. The goal is to get your body to process those toxins out. Once it does, you’ll begin to feel better. Detox aids in this process, and it also helps to treat or even eliminate your withdrawal symptoms.

Making withdrawal as comfortable as a process as possible is especially important when it comes to opioids. That’s because this withdrawal process for these drugs is one of the hardest to bear.

And without the right kind of help, many carfentanil addicts simply won’t be able to push through these uncomfortable symptoms on their own.

There are a couple of different types of detoxification programs to choose from too. Many programs tend to incorporate principles of each into their recovery program. But in general, they can be broken down into medical detox, holistic detox, and partial hospitalization programs.

You will most likely need medical detox if you’re addicted to carfentanil. This means you’ll be given medications to help you with your symptoms. You may be offered opioid replacement therapy, and be given a drug like Subutex or Suboxone. Both of these work on the opioid receptors in your body. The relief you’ll experience will be quick, and you’ll start feeling more like yourself soon.

Medication-assisted detox is a form of detoxification that has gained new ground in recent months. Many people are finding it to be extremely helpful during their recoveries. Vivitrol is one of the newest medications on the market, and it's shown to be very effective.

In addition to these opioid replacement therapy drugs, a medical detox program may also use other drugs like benzodiazepines and pain relievers to medically treat the uncomfortable withdrawals during carfentanil detox.

This program tends to take a different, more natural approach to detoxification. For most drugs, the body is actually already pretty good at removing toxins and healing on its own. A purely holistic detox program builds treatment around this core principle.

Treatments usually focus on supporting the body as it readjusts to functioning normally without carfentanil or another opioid. Oftentimes these programs will use nutrition-rich meal plans, exercise regimens, and other health-focused activities to give the body the strength it needs to heal.

They may also use yoga, mindfulness training, and meditation to help patients deal with psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety, irritability, and more.

Partial hospitalization programs (or PHPs) offer more flexible care than typical detoxification programs.

That’s because most carfentanil detox programs are inpatient – meaning they require patients to actually stay at a facility over the course of the program. But with PHPs, patients come into a facility for 4 to 6 hours a day and are free to sleep at home overnight.

During these programs, patients are medically monitored while at the facility (which is helpful for addressing serious complications) and also may go through other forms of treatment like one-on-one counseling, group talk, and certain behavioral therapies.

However, these programs are only suitable for patients with mild to moderate withdrawals. And for this reason, many carfentanil addicts will simply require a higher level of care during their detoxification.

What to Expect With Carfentanil Withdrawal

It’s going to be tough, and that is likely an understatement.

Since it is hundreds of times more potent than fentanyl, a compound 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin, getting clean from carfentanil can be excruciating.

Carfentanil Addiction Information

Withdrawal symptoms tend to be flu-like in nature. Diarrhea, vomiting, muscle aches, runny nose and eyes, fatigue, depression, irritability, and so much more are all common. And for many users, getting through these withdrawals can seem insurmountable.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of addicts that try quitting on their own end up relapsing not long after – all because of how severe the withdrawal symptoms are.

Partnering with a professional detoxification program is one of the best ways to make the withdrawal process far more bearable. And that, of course, translates to a better shot at long-term recovery.

For those who are withdrawing from carfentanil, they’re usually also withdrawing from heroin or another drug. The withdrawal symptoms are very similar to heroin.

However, users say that there is one distinct difference between heroin withdrawal and carfentanil withdrawal.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms are known for coming on slowly and then increasing in severity and intensity. This usually happens over a period of a few days. That isn’t the case with carfentanil. There is no gradual onset of symptoms. Instead, users report that when withdrawals begin, they happen all at once, and with a powerful severity.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms you might experience with carfentanil include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Goosebumps
  • Debilitating diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cramping

The YouTube video below offers even more insight into the symptoms of withdrawal from this deadly drug. You can see why it might be so hard for someone who is using carfentanil to consider recovering. Hopefully, you’ll also see why you should never attempt to do it on your own.

The carfentanil withdrawal timeline is bound to be different for everyone. That’s because it’s based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Individual genes and body type
  • History of addiction
  • Severity and duration of carfentanil abuse
  • The types of treatments used
  • The presence of polydrug abuse

As such, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact withdrawal timeline for carfentanil. However, most opioid withdrawal schedules tend to follow the same general pattern. According to MedlinePlus, the two main stages of opioid withdrawal have the following symptoms.

Early symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

Late symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 

Below is a brief outline of the opioid withdrawal timeline that carfentanil is likely to follow too.

  • The Beginning of Symptoms: If you’re taking short-acting opiates (Percocet, Oxycodone, Codeine), withdrawal should begin quickly. You may feel it within 6 to 12 hours after your last dose. For long-acting opiates (Duragesic, Opana, Methadone), they may begin within 30 hours.
  • Days 1-3: You may only experience a few mild symptoms at first. However, these symptoms will increase in severity by the end of the third day. Day 3 is the worst day of opiate withdrawal, by far.
  • Days 4-6: You should have hit the peak by day 3. On day 4, you should start to feel a bit better. Some symptoms may disappear, while others may linger.
  • Days 7-10: You should be feeling quite a bit better at this point. However, you still may experience cravings on and off.
  • Days 11 and Beyond: It’s not unusual for symptoms to come back without notice. It’s even possible to experience them a month or more after you’ve quit this drug.

Carfentanil Rehabilitation: Step 2 of Recovery

While detoxification is mostly concerned with addressing the physical side of addiction, this second stage of recovery, carfentanil rehabilitation, deals more with the mental side of it.

It uses evidence-based treatments and strategies to provide recovering addicts with the tools they need to overcome cravings, avoid powerful triggers, and ultimately stay sober for good.

And without rehabilitation, a recovery program is barely any good at all.

In fact, NIDA points out that on its own, medical detoxification does little to change future drug use without a rehab program attached.

That’s because addiction to drugs like carfentanil actually changes the way the brain functions on a physical level.

While detoxification can help a recovering addict overcome the physical withdrawals of quitting, they’ll still have the compulsive drug-seeking behaviors long after detox. And when these compulsive behaviors are left unaddressed, it can and often does result in relapse.

Rehabilitation and follow-up care are the best ways of treating these compulsive behaviors and ensuring recovering addicts stay clean. And without it, recovering addicts are often doomed to relapse.

Not all addiction programs are alike. And not all programs will use the same types of treatments to help patients overcome an addiction.

However, there are three main types of treatments that most programs will use to help address every aspect of an addiction: one-on-one counseling, group talk, and behavioral therapies.

  • One-on-One Counseling – Many times, an addiction is rooted in a particular problem or set of problems. Maybe a user takes drugs to cope with an emotional trauma like PSTD or an abusive relationship. Or perhaps they use to self-medicate an undiagnosed mood disorder or other mental problem. In any case, one-on-one counseling helps users get to the core of their addiction and helps them rebuild their life and coping strategies from the ground up.
  • Group Talk – Following in the footsteps of proven addiction treatment models like AA and NA, group talk helps patients engage with others to learn more about their own addiction, connect with others, and get the social support they need to heal. On top of that, these treatment sessions can help patients build a social support network that may end up lasting a lifetime.
  • Behavioral Therapies – These treatments give recovering addicts the science-based tools and strategies they need to overcome cravings and avoid potentially dangerous triggers. Treatments like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Contingency Management Interventions, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, and more are comm.

Types of Rehabilitation Centers for Opioid Addicts

There are many different types of rehabilitation programs. Not all of them are right for everyone. You may have specific needs that are best addressed in a certain type of rehab. For that reason, it’s important to find the one that will work best for you.

Outpatient programs, or OP is one way that you can get help for your addiction. However, you should be forewarned that you might not be appropriate for this type of care. This is because outpatient programs are usually best for those who have gone through inpatient rehab before.

During OP, you’ll most likely only be meeting with a therapist or group on a regular basis. Your appointments may be about an hour long, and that might not be enough support for some recovering addicts.

If you have a good support system at home, this is an option that might be right for you. Speaking with a qualified addiction professional is the best way to determine if outpatient is a good fit for your specific needs.

If you're not able to go to an inpatient rehab, intensive outpatient programs are great alternatives. These programs offer longer appointments on several days during the week. The appointments are usually held during the evening hours, which is very convenient. You can still work, go to school, and care for your family while you’re in rehab. Patients attend group therapy and get to meet with the therapist regularly.

You’ll get a much higher level of care at an IOP than you would at a traditional outpatient center. This is usually what people who are new to treatment need when they first quit.

Most people find that going to an inpatient rehab program is the right choice for them. They're able to get a high level of care, and they have support 24/7. Inpatient treatment is often combined with detox, and you can usually find both at the same location.

During your inpatient treatment, you’ll stay at the facility for about 30 days. You’ll be immersed in rehab, and participate in many types of therapy. You’ll also have some downtime for you to reflect and relax as you heal from your addiction.

If you’ve been an addict for quite some time, you may need longer to heal and recover. Most inpatient programs aren’t able to extend the amount of time you can stay. For this reason, residential treatment offers you the help you need.

Long-term care facilities exist so that patients who need more help can get it. You may be able to stay up to six months, or even longer in some cases. Many offer their own therapy programs. Others require you to find outside therapy and are run more like sober living homes.

Reasons to Consider an Inpatient Rehab for Your Recovery

In the minds of many people, an inpatient treatment program seems like an inconvenience. It may be difficult for you to imagine going away to rehab for 30 days to get help. However, we want to encourage you to strongly consider it if you have been exposed to carfentanil.

Some of the reasons you should consider an inpatient program include:

Being an addict has wreaked havoc in your life. You have probably made many changes in order to accommodate your substance abuse problem. It can be hard to make the transition from regular drug use to complete abstinence. That means you’ll need a lot of support during that time. You’ll receive it in an inpatient facility.

If you already know you’ve taken carfentanil, then that means it’s available in your area. As many as 60% of people in addiction recovery will suffer from a relapse. Relapses do happen, but that doesn’t mean it has to happen to you. You have a much better chance of avoiding it if you obtain a high level of care right from the beginning.

All kinds of complications can occur when you stop using street drugs. The same is true for a synthetic opioid like carfentanil. You could develop seizures, have heart problems, or experience other types of problems. It’s very important for you to be close to medical professionals who can intervene in the event of an emergency.

You may not have any idea what it was that caused you to become an addict. Sometimes people have an idea, but they’re often wrong about the underlying reasons. You could be suffering from a co-occurring disorder, which means having a mental health condition that needs treatment. If you are, it’s critical for you to get the help you need. You’ll have access to dual diagnosis treatment in an inpatient program. That means both conditions can be treated at the same time. 

As we mentioned previously, your life got turned upside-down when you started using. You may not even remember what it’s like to go without drugs. The staff will help you re-learn what it means to live without them. It will be challenging, but it will be much easier for you if you have professional help during the process.

Medications Used During Carfentanil Addiction Treatment

There is a range of medications that a treatment center may use to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and powerful cravings. Some of the most effective of these medications are called opioid-replacement therapies (ORTs).

They work by activating the same opioid receptors that drugs like heroin and carfentanil stimulate. But they do so in a much milder way so as not to produce the same euphoria. In fact, many users don’t feel anything at all when they take them – except for relief from the troubling symptoms of withdrawal and overwhelming cravings.

Below are some of the best opioid-replacement therapies being used today.

The first ORT, methadone has been used to help treat opioid withdrawals for decades. It’s usually administered in a liquid form and only at designated distribution centers.

However, it’s abuse potential and the difficulty in administering the drug (since it can only be done at certain locations) has led to it falling out of favor with many centers. And buprenorphine has largely taken its place.

The poster child of ORTs, buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex) has taken the torch from methadone in recent years. This drug has a much lower potential for abuse and can even be given to patients to administer by themselves at home.

Buprenorphine also has what’s known as a “ceiling effect,” meaning taking more of it after a certain dosage will not increase the drug’s effects.

However, just like methadone, there is some potential for abuse.

This drug could be the future of addiction treatment. Rather than stimulate the opioid receptors, it simply blocks them off entirely. That means that any new opioids that are taken after naltrexone won’t be able to produce the beneficial effects that a recovering addict may be after.

This, of course, can dramatically reduce the incentive for relapsing and make it far less appealing. In fact, this drug has proven to be just as effective as Suboxone at reducing the risk of relapse. It also helps fight cravings at the same time.

Plus, there is a new injectable version of the drug called Vivitrol that only needs to be administered once-a-month.

This drug is a bit different than the rest. Rather than blocking off or slightly stimulating the opioid receptors, it actually reverses the effects of an opioid. And that makes it particularly helpful when it comes to treating an overdose.

In fact, naloxone is so good at treating opioid overdoses that it’s actually referred to as an overdose cure in some circles.

Until a few years ago, the drug was only available in injectable form. But with the release of Narcan, a nasal spray version of naloxone, now nearly anyone can use this powerful drug.

Many addiction treatment centers will have this medication on hand in the event of a relapse, which can be quite deadly.

The Cost of Rehabilitation Programs and Your Health Insurance

How much does carfentanil rehabilitation actually cost?

It’s a common question. And for the overwhelming majority of patients, the answer is “less than you think.”

You may have always thought that you would need to pay for rehab out of your pocket. If you have insurance, you won’t. Going to an inpatient program can cost several thousand dollars. The amount is even higher for those who also need detox services. Fortunately, if you have health insurance, many of these costs will be covered.

In fact, many patients may end up paying little more than a small co-pay. Some may not be responsible for any costs at all.

Your health insurance company is required by law to offer you addiction treatment benefits. This falls under the mandates in the Affordable Care Act. If you don’t currently have health insurance, you can apply for a policy right online.

It is possible for you to get help for your addiction at no cost to you. SAMHSA offers grants to many addiction treatment centers for this purpose. All you need to do is contact a drug rehab near you and ask for more information. They will be able to either offer you help, or assist you with finding out where you can get it.

But there are other options for reducing the cost of addiction treatment too. Certain facilities may offer a range of programs to make treatment far more affordable. These include:

  • Payment plans
  • Financing
  • Sliding-scale prices
  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Referral programs

Have a look at the video below for even more information on how to find free or low-cost addiction treatment.

The Risks of Quitting Without Going to a Rehab Center

Sometimes people truly believe that they can quit using drugs on their own. They think that all it will take is having enough willpower. If this is how you feel, we want to caution you. It might seem heroic to attempt to quit taking this powerful drug. However, you could be putting your life at risk if you try it. This is a very potent drug, and the withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming, as we’ve discussed.

But on top of a low success rate, there are few more problems that make trying to quit on your own particularly dangerous – especially when it comes to carfentanil.

The Risk of Deadly Complications

Some drugs have withdrawal symptoms that are deadly on their own. Alcohol and benzodiazepines, for example, can cause life-threatening seizures during the detoxification process when not attended to by a medical professional.

Despite just how excruciating the withdrawal process can be for opioids like carfentanil, though, these withdrawal symptoms often are not fatal on their own. However, that doesn’t mean that detoxing doesn’t have its own set of risks, especially when it comes to complications.

Below are some of the most common and the most dangerous.

One of the biggest dangers of going through carfentanil detoxification without proper medical oversight is dehydration.

The body is utterly dependent on water in order to work properly. From the health of our skin and the proper thickness of our blood to functional vital internal organs like the kidneys and the heart, proper hydration is absolutely required to keep us alive.

And when opioid addicts go through detox, it’s incredibly common for them to suffer from dehydration without the right kind of care. This is mostly due to two very serious and very uncomfortable symptoms in particular – severe diarrhea and frequent vomiting.

Patients going through opioid detoxification suffer from both at nearly all hours of the day during withdrawal. And without the right kind of treatment, they can easily lead to a cascade of other deadly complications resulting from dehydration, including:

  • Heat injury
  • Urinary and kidney problems
  • Seizures
  • Low blood volume shock
  • Coma

Next up is malnutrition – a serious health concern that often occurs during un-aided detoxification. This complication tends to pop up for a couple of reasons.

First, addicts of all kinds will often suffer from at least mild malnutrition before entering a professional program. Heavy drug users and drinkers tend to skip meals in favor of using. And when they do eat, they may not be consuming the healthiest of meals since they tend to save their money for drugs and drink instead.

And second, when an opioid addict does begin to detox, the vomiting and diarrhea that accompany withdrawal can be severe. This often translates to the body not being able to properly absorb nutrients – if and when a recovering addict feels like eating at all.

With malnutrition comes a weaker immune system which can be an especially dangerous problem for users infected with HIV or Hepatitis – two diseases that are particularly common among opioid addicts.

There are other complications that can result from malnutrition as well. These include:

  • Intractable vomiting
  • High fever
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Convulsions
  • Dehydration
  • Hypothermia

Under the right conditions and without proper treatment, these complications can end up being quite deadly.

Detoxification from opioids like carfentanil can also cause a variety of heart problems. Two of the most common are heart palpitations (irregular heartbeat) and higher blood pressure.

These symptoms may not be deadly on their own. And when they’re mild, they usually aren’t much of a cause for concern. However, when they’re more severe, they can increase the risk of very serious health problems.

Both heart palpitation and high blood pressure can actually cause damage to blood vessels and the structure and strength of the heart. Consequently, they can both add up to making a heart attack or stroke significantly more likely.

So even though opioid withdrawal may not directly cause a stroke or cardiac event, it can still set the stage for both to occur.

One of the deadliest complications from opioid withdrawal (and one of the most common among those trying to detox at home alone) is choking.

During withdrawal, vomiting can be and often is quite severe. And in cases of serious addictions, it can become absolutely uncontrollable. Without the right kind of supervision, this uncontrollable vomiting can lead to recovering addicts actually choking on their own vomit.

For milder addictions, this usually isn’t too much of a problem. But for heavy users, they can often be so overwhelmed by other symptoms that they’re unable to keep themselves safe as they push through withdrawal.

That’s why anyone attempting to detox from opioids should partner with a professional program – it’s the absolute best way to stay safe during withdrawal.

Profuse vomiting is just as disturbing as it is deadly, especially because of the risk of choking. However, severe vomiting can also lead to another life-threatening complication – aspiration.

Aspiration is when someone accidentally inhales their own vomit into their lungs. In some cases, this inhaled vomit can stay inside the lungs and lead to severe infections which go on to spread to the rest of the body. It can even lead to death if the victim isn't treated properly.

Aspiration pneumonia, for example, can cause abscesses or permanent scarring to the tissues of the lungs. And in the worst cases of aspiration pneumonia, acute respiratory failure may occur which can often lead to death.

The physical complications of carfentanil withdrawal can be deadly, especially because many opioid addicts don’t consider them before trying to quit on their own. However, there are also psychological side effects of the detoxification process that can be just as deadly.

During opioid withdrawal, anxiety, depression, and irritability are incredibly common. The physical withdrawals can be emotionally taxing, and the lack of dopamine in the brain can make recovering addicts feel like they're in a hole they can't crawl out of.

And for some people, that can lead to patients committing suicide.

While the risk of psychological disturbances is high among withdrawal from any drug, it’s especially concerning among opioid addicts. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid addicts are more than 5 times more likely to commit suicide compared to the general population. Other studies suggest that the risk is as much as 13 times higher than non-opioid users.

So, while the physical side of opioid withdrawal can be grueling, the psychological side effects can actually be just as dangerous in the end.

Relapse and Overdose

When people attempt to quit using drugs laced with carfentanil on their own, they’re often not able to. In a weak moment, they reason with themselves, and then go back to using. This is called suffering from a relapse.

With any opioid drug, a relapse can be deadly. With this one, the dangers are magnified even more.

Part of what makes trying to quit opioids so dangerous has to do with how it affects tolerance. These drugs tend to build tolerance especially quickly – part of what makes them so addictive in the first place.

However, this tolerance also drops quicker than most users expect. And if a carfentanil addict stops taking the drugs in an effort to quit but relapses on the same dose they were used to soon after, they may end up taking much more than their body can handle.

Plus, the rate of relapse among heroin and opioid abusers is particularly high.

In fact, one study found that as many as 91% of heroin users surveyed ended up relapsing after treatment, and 59% of those did so within a week.

And given that the relapse rate among opioid users is so high, this risk of an accidental overdose is a very real danger.

Another aspect that makes it even more dangerous is the fact that even a tiny amount of carfentanil can be deadly. To illustrate, The Huffington Post recently published a picture demonstrating how much carfentanil it can take to kill a human. The amount was equal to a grain of salt.

It’s possible to overdose on carfentanil with any use of this drug. However, if you have a relapse, you’re almost certain to overdose on it. You may not be able to reach help in time if you do.

Opioid overdoses are becoming more common and more deadly with each passing year. In 2017 alone, nearly 48,000 Americans lost their lives to opioids. And over 28,000 of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like carfentanil.

It’s never been more important, then, to know how to spot the signs of a carfentanil overdose quickly, so you can get help as fast as possible.

The signs of a carfentanil overdose are likely to be similar to those of heroin. These include:

AIRWAYS AND LUNGS

  • No breathing
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slow and difficult breathing

EYES, EARS, NOSE, AND THROAT

  • Dry mouth
  • Extremely small pupils, sometimes as small as the head of a pin (pinpoint pupils)
  • Discolored tongue

HEART AND BLOOD

  • Low blood pressure
  • Weak pulse

SKIN

  • Bluish-colored nails and lips

STOMACH AND INTESTINES

  • Constipation
  • Spasms of the stomach and intestines

NERVOUS SYSTEM

  • Coma
  • Delirium
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements

If you think you’re going to relapse, please don’t use this drug when you’re alone. Make sure the person you’re with understands the symptoms of an overdose. It may be necessary to call 911 right away. Paramedics can administer naloxone at the scene, which could save your life.

And if you think someone else is overdosing, be sure to contact the emergency services at 911 immediately. If you do have to leave the side of the victim even for a minute, be sure to put them into the recovery position to reduce the chances of deadly complications.

What Should You Look for in a Treatment Program?

Perhaps you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re an addict and you need to get help to stop using. It’s great that you’ve made that decision. However, you need to know that every addiction treatment program isn’t the same. It’s very important to find the right type of facility for your recovery. You can do that by looking for the following characteristics:

Unfortunately, not all rehabilitation programs are actually effective at treating a substance use disorder.

Some may be built on outdated guidelines and principles that simply don’t work anymore. Others may not provide treatments to address the full spectrum of addiction recovery. And others still might use unethical or even illegal practices to boost their profits.

That’s why it’s so important to have an understanding of which programs you can trust, and which should be avoided at all costs.

There are a couple of different agencies that provide accreditation for substance abuse treatment programs. Some of the most noteworthy are:

  • The Joint Commission
  • LegitScript
  • The Better Business Bureau
  • The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers
  • The National Council for Behavioral Health

Be sure to keep an eye out for facilities with these accreditations. They will usually indicate a treatment program with high standards of quality treatment that you can trust to help get you clean.

Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. Drugs of abuse alter the brain’s structure and function, resulting in changes that persist long after drug use has ceased. This may explain why drug abusers are at risk for relapse even after long periods of abstinence and despite the potentially devastating consequences.”

- #1 of NIDA’s Principles of Effective Treatment

Unfortunately, addiction has been misunderstood for decades. Many believe that addiction is the result of some sort of moral failing – a mistake that results from too little willpower and misguided actions.

However, researchers today now know that addiction is in fact a physical disease that physically changes the way addicts think, act, and even perceive the world. In that sense, an addict often has little to no control over their substance abuse.

A trustworthy addiction program, then, needs to treat substance use disorders as the diseases they are – not as some sort of personality flaw in the addict themselves.

Quality addiction treatment is an intensive process.

The mental and physical health of patients needs to be almost constantly monitored, treatment plans must be evaluated and changed based on progress, and the comfort and safety of recovering addicts should be a top priority.

It’s critical, then, that an addiction treatment facility has a large enough staff to address each of these concerns day-in and day-out.

A high staff-to-patient ratio means that a professional facility has the manpower and expertise to give patients the individual attention they need. And that means that each recovering addict will be happy, healthy, and safe throughout their entire recovery.

Many drug-addicted individuals also have other mental disorders. Because drug abuse and addiction—both of which are mental disorders—often co-occur with other mental illnesses, patients presenting with one condition should be assessed for the other(s). And when these problems co-occur, treatment should address both (or all), including the use of medications as appropriate.”

- #9 of NIDA’s Principles of Effective Treatment

Most addicts find that they suffer from mental illnesses. For many of them, these conditions have contributed to their addictions. They may be using substances as a way to self-medicate. It’s important for you to find a facility that offers dual diagnosis treatment for this reason.

When it comes to treating an opioid addiction, professional detoxification is 100% necessary. The withdrawals are grueling, the complications can be life-threatening, and relapsing can and often does lead to death by overdose.

That’s why it’s vital to choose a recovery program that either has their own detoxification program or has close ties to another facility that can provide it.

No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Treatment varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patients. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and society.”

- #2 of NIDA’s Principles of Effective Treatment

Your addiction is unique to you. And that means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment that works for absolutely everybody.

That’s why it’s so important to partner with a facility that provides fully-individualized programs catered to meet the unique needs of each patient.

Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse. To be effective, treatment must address the individual’s drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. It is also important that treatment be appropriate to the individual’s age, gender, ethnicity, and culture.”

- #4 of NIDA’s Principles of Effective Treatment

Addiction is a complex disease. And it’s destructive effects bleed into nearly every aspect of an individual’s life, not just their physical health. Finances, social relationships, career trajectories, and mental well-being are all often devastated over the course of a substance abuse problem.

And if these other aspects are left untreated, it can cause serious problems that will likely plunge a recovering user back into a substance abuse problem.

That’s why a proper addiction treatment program should address more than just an addict’s substance abuse in order to be effective. It also needs to take a holistic approach to recovery and help them repair the damage their addiction has caused to their jobs, their relationships, their reputation, and so much more.

Carfentanil and Addiction FAQs

Now that you have all the information you need about addiction recovery, you may still have some pressing questions.

Carfentanil is one of the newer drugs on the market. If you’ve been exposed to it, you need to know exactly what you’re dealing with. It’s important to know the risks and get all of your questions answered.

We’d like to take this opportunity to answer some of your questions. We’ve listed some of the ones we get most below.

It might seem too confusing to you to think that a drug dealer would lace a drug with a fatal chemical. It is surprising, unless you understand the motives behind it.

Heroin is often very expensive for dealers to obtain, and even more so when it's purer. Drug addicts are looking for the purest forms of the drug that they can find. It's not uncommon for dealers to lie about the purity of their products. They can get away with that by including additives that look like the drug they're selling.

Carfentanil is very similar in appearance to heroin. It’s also much cheaper. Drug dealers can easily cut heroin with a little bit of it to save money. They do run the risk of killing their customers. However, those with higher tolerances to opioids may see their products as superior. This can keep them coming back for more.

If you overdose on carfentanil, you probably won’t have any idea what’s happening. This drug is so potent and so powerful that it will likely cause a blackout almost immediately. This means that you won’t remember anything at all. You won’t be able to respond to anyone, and if you don’t get immediate medical help, you could die.

One addict shown in the video below described his experience with overdosing on carfentanil. As he states, he had no idea what he was doing. This is the saddest part about this drug. People who end up using it aren’t aware that their substances have been laced with it. The result is often fatal unless emergency responders are called right away.

While it is possible for someone to survive an overdose with immediate treatment, there are still risks. It may only take a matter of a few seconds for the drug to take someone’s life.

If you have a loved one with a history of overdoses, you may be very aware of the dangers. You need to immediately call 911 for help. Paramedics can administer naloxone at the scene. However, it can take a lot of this life-saving drug for it to be effective with carfentanil. This might mean giving it every two to three minutes until the individual is breathing on their own for 15 minutes.

EMS workers are taking their lives into their hands when they respond to overdoses. This is especially true because of drugs laced with carfentanil and other dangerous additives.

New Hampshire’s Governor, Chris Sununu reported that, “It presents a serious risk to public safety, first responders, medical treatment and laboratory personnel because it can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled.”

Since this problem emerged, first responders have been trained on how to avoid getting exposed. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t real dangers still involved. Accidental exposures do happen, and they will continue to as long as the overdoses are taking place.

When you hear the names fentanyl and carfentanil, you may think they’re almost the same. While both of them are dangerous, and both can cause death, there are some differences.

Carfentanil is a synthetic form of fentanyl that, as we’ve discussed, is not for human consumption. It’s 100 times more potent, and it’s used as an elephant tranquilizer.

Fentanyl, on the other hand, is a prescription drug that people can take for pain. However, it’s only supposed to be prescribed when other opioid drugs don’t work. It still should only be used for a short period of time, otherwise, an addiction can result.

Carfentanil has a half-life of about 7.7 hours, which is about double the half-life of Fentanyl. This means that it will take longer for it to leave your system.

It’s interesting to compare this drug with the half-life of heroin, which is only between 3 and 8 minutes. People who use these drugs together will continue to suffer the effects of carfentanil much longer.

The use of this drug is still so new, which means it’s not easy to find many statistics. However, there are strong indicators that its use is becoming more and more common. Regarding fatal overdoses in one state:

The overall number of overdose deaths from this drug has more than doubled from 2016 to 2017.

In 2016, there were 34 OD deaths.

In 2017, there were 78.

Officials believe that this number is only going to increase as time goes on.

All of these involved more than one drug; likely heroin or cocaine.

If carfentanil goes the way of heroin and fentanyl, it won’t be long before we have more information. This is definitely a part of the opioid epidemic that officials are keeping a close eye on. They’re also working to find ways to provide solutions.

If you have a family member who is a drug user, you’re right to be concerned. Even if they really know their dealers well, there’s no telling where carfentanil may turn up. You never know when or if it will come to your area, so it’s important to act quickly.

You may be the only person who is able to get through to your loved one about the dangers of addiction. As more time passes, the probability of drug users coming into contact with carfentanil is only going to increase.

You should sit down and have a discussion with your loved one as soon as possible. Let them know what you’ve learned about this dangerous drug. Show them proof in the form of articles that talk about the number of overdoses in the United States.

Most importantly – ask them to get help for their addiction. They may resist you, but please be adamant. Talk to them about it often, and ask them to explain why they won’t go to rehab. If they tell you that they will eventually, but they’re just not ready yet, that’s a classic stalling technique. You may need to take different measures.

You can’t force a loved one to get addiction treatment. However, you shouldn’t stop trying until you’ve exhausted all of your options. This means scheduling an intervention to communicate your message more strongly.

You can obtain intervention services through many drug rehabs all over the country. An interventionist will work closely with you and other concerned family members. They’ll coach you so you’ll know how to prepare for the meeting, and then they’ll lead it on the day of it.

Sometimes people are concerned about being too confrontational with a drug addict by doing an intervention. We can certainly understand your concerns if that’s how you feel. However, please keep in mind that there are very real risks involved with continued drug use. Your loved one could come in contact with carfentanil the very next time they use. You may be worried about offending them, but their life is much more important.

At this point, you may be very concerned about the possibility of coming into contact with carfentanil. The problem is that you’re not completely sure you’re addicted. How can you know if you’re an addict?

There are several different ways you can identify an addiction in your own life. The best way is to talk with someone about your situation. Many drug rehabs offer free phone assessments to people just like you. This will give you the opportunity to talk with a professional and get more information. It’s definitely something you may want to consider.

You could also look for some of the more common signs and symptoms of addiction in your own life. These can include:

  • Putting your drug use at a higher priority in your life than anything else.
  • Preferring to spend time alone so that you can use.
  • Lying to the people you love about your substance abuse problem.
  • Spending a lot of money on your drugs of choice each month.
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining drugs, getting high, and recovering from being high.
  • Trying to quit many times, but failing at all of them.
  • Increasing tolerance levels, which means you need to use larger amounts to get high over time.

If you can identify with any of these, then you are most likely addicted. That means it’s time for you to do something about it.

If you’re still not sure, you can also take an addiction quiz like this one. This will allow you to answer a series of questions about your drug use behaviors. After you’re finished, you’ll have immediate access to your results.

Have a look at the video below for more info on how to tell if you’re addicted or not.

There are a lot of steps currently being taken in the fight against the opioid epidemic in the United States. Some are suggestions that people can begin to put into practice at home. Others may take some time to implement on either a state or federal level.

Here are some examples:

  • Some states have made it legal to purchase Naloxone over the counter. Parents are being urged to have some on hand at home.
  • Parents are also being urged to purchase prescription drug lockboxes. This keeps these dangerous medications out of the hands of their children.
  • There is a push for less prison sentences for drug offenders and more rehab options instead. Officials believe that this might help curb the problem.
  • Physicians are being asked to consider alternate ways of treating pain aside from prescription opioids. This should cut down on the number of prescriptions written for them every year.
  • There is a push for stronger punishments for repeat offenders and drug dealers. The hope is that stricter consequences will deter them.

Without a doubt, more work needs to be done. However, this drug problem is one that everyone is aware of, and the proper steps are being taken.

Whether you’re an addict, or you have a loved one who is, you may wonder what causes them to happen. There are so many reasons.

Some people are more prone to addictions because of their genes. If they have a history of drug use in their families, they’re much more likely to use themselves. However, it’s important to note that it’s impossible to blame an addiction solely on genetics.

Other factors could be at play as well. For example:

  • Men are more likely than women to suffer from addictions.
  • People with mental illnesses are much more likely to turn to substances to cope.
  • Stress is a strong risk factor for drug dependence.
  • Both young people and adults may succumb to peer pressure to use.
  • If you started using when you were younger, you’re much more likely to be an addict later on.

You can become an addict simply by using a substance repeatedly, without any of the above risk factors. That’s why it’s best not to put yourself in that situation at all.

Carfentanil Stories From Drug Addicts and Families

You’re not alone if you’re battling an addiction. You also might not really believe that you could ever come across carfentanil. We want you to know that it can happen to anyone. You may think that it’s not available in your area, but that could change in the blink of an eye. Just take a moment and read some information from others facing similar situations.

As a parent, nothing is as heartbreaking as losing a child to a drug overdose. Here, one woman shares her heart after her son died from overdosing on carfentanil.

I started using heroin with some friends from college during our sophomore year. It was just something we did for fun. It helped us relax; especially when our classes would become stressful. I remember one weekend when my friends invited me to their dorm room. We’d just finished our midterms, and I was looking forward to releasing some stress.

As it turned out, my parents decided to visit me that weekend, so I wasn’t able to go. That was the only reason my life was spared from this awful drug. I found out that both of them had died from an overdose that Friday night. Their heroin was laced with carfentanil.

I immediately told my parents everything. It was hard, but I opened up to them and I told them the truth. I’m so thankful I did because they helped me get started in recovery.

I knew she was using heroin, but I had no idea she was putting her life at risk. I had never even heard of carfentanil. All I knew was that I came home and saw her passed out, and immediately suspected an overdose.

The ambulance was there in about three minutes after I called them. They administered naloxone on the scene and they were able to keep her alive. That was the end of her drug use. I’m just glad I got there when I did. They told if I had been a few seconds later, she would have died.

Carfentanil Addiction Treatment

Finding a Recovery Program Near You

Because this is one of the newer opioid drugs on the market, many addiction treatment programs don’t have much experience with it. It’s important to find a recovery center that understands carfentanil and how to treat you. You’ll find that at Northpoint Washington.

Our staff is made up of highly trained professionals who all know exactly what to do to assist you. We can provide you with the opioid detox services you need, as well as rehabilitation. You’ll be able to get all the help you require in one location.

On top of that, Northpoint Washington is proud to be accredited by the Joint Commission as well as a range of other national agencies. Plus, our fully-individualized programs are run by qualified and knowledgeable staff members. We even have one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios in the area.

For just a moment, stop and consider how much your addiction has stolen from your life. Continuing to use could put you at risk for more carfentanil exposure. This could potentially steal a mother away from her children. It could steal a top employee from his company. You’ve likely already suffered so much loss at the hands of your addiction. Recovery is only a phone call away.

Would you like to learn more about carfentanil or about addiction rehab programs near you? Please contact us right away. We are happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist

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