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What is your typical reaction when you know a severe storm is heading your way?

We have all seen the television warnings, with blaring sirens and flashing messages informing the viewers that they are in the path of a storm that could cause tremendous damage.

For most people, news of this magnitude causes them to immediately begin preparing for the potential impact of the storm. They take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their family members because they are aware of the damage that a severe storm can cause, and they want to make sure that every step is taken to decrease the potential for a traumatic outcome.

In a similar sense, the signs of fentanyl addiction can be just as obvious and glaring for those family members paying attention to their loved one’s behaviors.

Their behaviors become increasingly detrimental and ominous the longer their addiction continues; and like the storm, if the warning signs of your loved one’s fentanyl abuse are minimized or ignored, the potential for lasting damage and disarray is all too real.

Is Fentanyl Stronger Than Heroin?

The short answer to this question is yes, fentanyl is much stronger than heroin. In fact, it is 30 to 50 times stronger then heroin and can kill an individual with just a quarter of a gram.

For perspective, a typical baby aspirin is 81 milligrams, so if you cut that into 324 pieces, one of those pieces would be equal to the amount of fentanyl that could kill a grown person after one use.

How Does Fentanyl Work?

Fentanyl itself is a synthetic opioid that has been approved by the FDA for use as an anesthetic and painkiller. It works by attaching to opioid receptors within the brain but is capable of achieving this reaction much faster and in much smaller doses than both morphine and heroin.

While the medicinal applications of fentanyl are well known, the potential for abuse has exploded over the past decade, resulting in an increased number of drug overdoses and deaths. This has been attributed to its significantly stronger properties and the fact that, when distributed on the streets, the dosages taken by addicts is impossible to monitor.1

Signs of Fentanyl Abuse

While there are typically obvious signs when a person is abusing a drug as strong and overpowering as fentanyl, understanding what to look for can provide additional insight and guidance to a loved one looking to provide guidance and support. The physical signs of fentanyl abuse can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Poor coordination
  • Rapidly shifting moods
  • Excessive nervousness or irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Sleeping more or less than normal
  • Abandoning responsibilities
  • Missing personal obligations
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Avoiding time with friends and family
  • Poor decision patterns
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Dramatically decreased motivation
  • Legal issues
  • Experiencing financial hardship
  • Nausea, vomiting and constipation

While any of these symptoms alone don’t necessarily indicate fentanyl abuse, groupings of these symptoms can be red flags that a loved one may be struggling with a substance use disorder.

The key to identifying a potential fentanyl abuse issue is paying attention to your loved one’s behaviors and decision patterns.

Additionally, making sure to communicate openly and consistently with your loved one is another excellent manner of deciphering if their behaviors are normal or potentially harmful in nature.

What to Do When You Notice Fentanyl Addiction Signs

As previously stated, the warning signs or fentanyl abuse and addiction are easy to spot if you know what to look for. In addition to the previously mentioned list, the early signs displayed by a fentanyl addict will typically include excessive emotionality and withdrawal from loved ones.

Their growing addiction will begin to replace their desire to lead a healthy and happy life in exchange for the high offered by fentanyl. If you notice these warning signs within your loved one, it is imperative to address the issue immediately.

Ignoring them could result in the disease spreading to critical proportions, quickly resulting in a potential overdose or death. Once you have identified the existence of the issue, researching viable rehabilitation facilities is the next step.

Find Life-Changing, Christian-Based Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills

Your loved one was meant for so much more than where their addiction has landed them. The good news is it can stop, and they can regain their life. It starts at Covenant Hills, where our highly experienced staff helps addicts quit all types of drugs.

Through a proven 12-step, faith-based model, our fentanyl treatment program empowers you to reclaim your physical and mental well-being through emotional, nutritional, social, fitness and spiritual therapy components.

Learn more about our Christian-based addiction treatment programs. Contact us for a free and confidential assessment.


1 CNN. What you need to know about fentanyl. Accessed December 23, 2018.