Fentanyl Lollipops

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Fentanyl Lollipops: A Brief History

In the early 1990s, prescription opioids were introduced into the American healthcare system. Since then, opioid addictions have continued to be a major health concern in the United States. The growing crisis claimed 75,000 deaths in this past year alone. As concern increases, the government has tried to tackle addiction and overdoses with a multifaceted approach. One of the loudest drugs in the arena of addiction has been fentanyl, a prescription painkiller commonly given in the form of a fentanyl lollipop. Deadly when used without a prescription, fentanyl is the number one cause of death in Americans aged 18-45.

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What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that was developed in the 1960s by Jansen Pharmaceuticals. Originally used as an anesthetic, fentanyl was found to be a powerful painkiller. With a potency of 50-100 times that of morphine, it works for opioid-resistant patients. Therefore, doctors will prescribe fentanyl for cancer patients in extreme pain. Fentanyl is extremely addictive and abused for its euphoric high. On the black market, it is produced and sold typically as pills or cut into other drugs.

Fentanyl Addiction

It is estimated that approximately 1.6 million Americans have a substance use disorder involving prescription pain medication. These drugs either enter the black market through false prescriptions or illicit production. Fentanyl use disorder occurs when someone is specifically addicted to fentanyl.

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What is a Fentanyl Lollipop?

Fentanyl is commonly combined with the active ingredient citrate and flavorings to form fentanyl lozenges, or “fentanyl lollipops.” The brand name for this form of fentanyl is Actiq. The opioid lollipop is sucked, and the medicine is absorbed through the oral mucosa into the bloodstream.

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Fentanyl Lollipop Uses

The benefit of a drug lollipop is its controlled release. When a patient receives a fentanyl dose through a pill or an injection, they receive the full dose at once, whereas, with these pain suckers, there’s a slow release of fentanyl with each lick. Therefore, the patient can stop sucking the drug lollipop once the pain subsides, which allows for a smaller dose.

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Fentanyl Lollipop for Military Use

Another use for the Actiq lollipop is amongst the military. In the military, paramedics don’t always have access to sterile conditions. The fentanyl lollipops don’t require sterile conditions and are therefore easily used in the military field.

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How Do Fentanyl Lollipops Interact with the Body?

Fentanyl binds to and activates opioid receptors in the brain when it enters the body. This causes an increase in dopamine, the body’s “feel-good” neurotransmitter. The excess dopamine released can cause the body to need fentanyl to stimulate dopamine production.

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Fentanyl Lollipop Addiction

According to the DSM-5, an opioid use disorder is when a person uses opioids to a degree that distresses or impairs the individual.

Some of the symptoms of a disorder are:

  • Opioid cravings
  • Use of opioids more frequently than needed
  • Use leading to significantly decreased productivity
  • Obsessing over the next opioid use
  • Experiencing withdrawal and using similar drugs to prevent withdrawal
  • Repeated use of opioids even when detrimental

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Fentanyl Lollipop Side Effects

The many side effects that result from Actiq use include:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Constipation
  • Drowsy
  • Dizziness
  • Dyspnea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • CNS depression
  • Acute confusion
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • False sense of well-being
  • Hypotension
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Respiratory depression
  • Xerostomia
  • Hallucinations
  • General weakness
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Headache disorder
  • Urinary retention
  • Nervousness

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Fentanyl Lollipop Price

The street price of fentanyl is approximately $8. This is relatively cheap in comparison to other drugs, which also contributes to its wide misuse.

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Fentanyl Lollipop Dose

The dosing of pain relief lollipops can be adjusted as consumed. A doctor will usually tell a patient to take the fentanyl sucker until the pain subsides, and then stop. This way, the dosage is controlled.

Fentanyl Overdoses

Fentanyl can be fatal in as small of a dose as 2 milligrams. Unfortunately, in DEA testing, it was found that illicit fentanyl is sold in as high of a dose as .02 to 5.1 mg, which is more than twice the fatal dose.

The signs of a fentanyl overdose include:

  • Stupor
  • Changes in pupillary size
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Cyanosis – blue discoloration of the skin
  • Respiratory failure leading to death

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Treatment for Actiq Addiction

While treatment for an addiction can be challenging, research has shown that it is possible. Effective treatment usually incorporates a mix of drug detox treatment, counseling, and medication. The two main components of treatment are medications and behavioral therapy. A treatment facility will assess a patient’s needs and provide the best treatment plan for everyone.

Usually, a fentanyl use disorder requires an intensive residential treatment program to recover. However, there are other treatment options, as well such as outpatient rehab or various therapies. Being in an inpatient facility can help a patient manage the withdrawal symptoms, get through it safely, and provide support for quitting a fentanyl addiction. A facility will provide medical oversight, counseling, and evaluations to help a person recover. Stress management skills and coping strategies are powerful tools that can be used as well. 

With professional support to aid your sobriety, contact Avenues Recovery if you or a loved one are addicted to fentanyl lollipops or any other form of fentanyl. The road to lasting recovery starts here.

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