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Fentanyl Abuse

As a controlled substance, fentanyl has a high potential for addiction and abuse. However, a person can also develop physical dependence on the drug, which is different from an addiction. Abusing fentanyl consists of cravings, uncontrollable drug use, and continued drug use despite possible complications. If you think you may be addicted to fentanyl, contact your healthcare provider for help.

An Overview of Abusing Fentanyl

Fentanyl (Abstral®, Actiq®, Duragesic®, Fentora®, Lazanda®, Onsolis®, Subsys®) is a prescription opioid pain medication used to treat pain in people who are already used to the effects of opioid medications. It comes as both a long-acting patch used for chronic pain and short-acting products used on an as-needed basis for pain.
 
Like all narcotics, fentanyl has a high potential for abuse. Because of this, fentanyl is considered a Schedule II federally controlled substance, like morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and methadone. Schedule II substances have the highest potential for abuse of all prescription medications.
 

Addiction Versus Dependence

All opioid narcotic medications, including fentanyl, can lead to physical dependence. Physical dependence occurs when the body becomes used to a drug and needs it to function normally. If you suddenly stop taking this medication, it will cause withdrawal symptoms. This is an expected physical response to taking a narcotic for long periods.
 
In addition, the body may become tolerant to the effects of a drug. In the case of fentanyl, this means that higher doses may be needed over time to achieve the same pain-relieving effects. In many cases, people who have been on narcotics for long periods can take doses so large they would cause an overdose in people who do not take narcotics.
 
Physical dependence and tolerance are not necessarily the same as addiction and abuse. Addiction is a serious and complex disease associated with drug abuse, craving, uncontrolled drug use, and continued drug use despite harm.
 
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Fentanyl Drug Information

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