What Is Fentanyl: Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, a man-made drug designed to mimic the effects of natural opiates like heroin and opium. It is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and is prescribed to treat severe pain after surgery or during cancer treatment.
The drug is available in several forms and under many different brand names. It can be administered by injection, as a patch, and in the form of a sublingual tablet.
Affects of Fentanyl on the Brain: Medical professionals prescribe Fentanyl to patients suffering from chronic pain or flare-ups of unbearable pain despite ongoing narcotic treatment, called breakthrough pain. The substance behaves similarly to heroin and morphine by working with the brain’s opioid receptors. The opioid centers are areas in the brain that manage pain and emotions.
The brain works by binding Fentanyl to the opioid receptors, causing dopamine levels in the brain to increase and induce euphoria, relaxation, and contentment. The effects of Fentanyl come on rapidly but are short-lived, generally lasting only one to two hours.
Even when used as prescribed, Fentanyl side-effects can include:
- Mood changes
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Back pain
- Decreased libido
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Fentanyl harbors a massive addiction potential because of its strength and pharmacology, whether sourced legally or illegally.
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“My daily habit was from the minute I woke up, to the minute I passed out, all I wanted to do was get ‘high’. I was kicked out of school. Could not keep a job, I was kicked out of my house. I didn’t have any money; the only money I could get was what I stole from my friends…”
But 12 Step Recovery program trained him for success.
Three principles were so important for me not to simply deal with my drug problem but be successful in life…
- Surrender outcome
- Do uncomfortable work.
(Be vulnerable – Be Transparent – Tell the Truth – Surrender – Be Accountable)
Will lost almost everything: jobs, his driver's license, his car, his marriage and his home. He found enough temporary work to pay rent on a room, ate at soup kitchens, and stole and resold goods for cash.
"Feeding that addiction," he says. "Feeding that monster."
We're only using Will's first name because future landlords or employers might not take him based on his record.
The game changer
One morning almost three years ago, with no heroin and no money to buy any, Will went into withdrawal. This former basketball player, once in top shape, dragged himself down the street searching for a deal. He had some crack that he could sell. The buyer was an undercover cop.
"That was the game changer," Will says. Instead of prison, Will was sent to a daily probation program in Massachusetts called Community Corrections.
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(Dalgarno Institute comment: We speak in pejorative terms of the ‘War Against Drugs’, (BTW – one which Australia never fought) and this meme has conjured disempowering caricatures that have been harnessed wonderfully by an ever emboldened pro-drug and other anarchist groups to peddle their notions of cultural reform.
However, any ‘war’ against all community and individual destroying behaviours is never a futile one (thought at times it may appear a losing one – especially when constantly sabotaged from within). When it comes to other such destructive elements; we don’t stop fighting assault, rape, road toll, theft, vandalism, etc, just because we haven’t eliminated or made limited in-roads into stopping these behaviours. No, we continue, but not in a mindless repetition of one misused, and consequently, struggling tactic.
Ernest Hemmingway was right when he said, “Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war.”
Overcoming a society, community, family and individual destroying ‘enemy’ requires creative diligence, not just belligerence. There are many tactics in a war that can subdue an enemy. It is important to restate that in the War for the brains our youth, the health of our families and the safety or our community, the prohibitive law, can and must be used as a Judicial Educator, not a punitive incarcerator. One does not have to weaken statutes or penalties – in fact this will only give greater strength to this scourge. However, diversionary strategies that empower and equip options for change and the facilitated exit from drug use, is one of the best weapons in the legislative arsenal.
Whilst one may agree that a doubling down on a ‘one hand tied behind the back’ and non-restorative mechanism may continue to bear only little fruit, ‘cutting that arm’ off, rather than re-tasking the law and harnessing it with drug use recovery; supply, and most importantly, demand reduction mechanisms, is the better way forward for all our communities.)
The Dubbo region will benefit from a $31.5 million investment in drug rehabilitation and access to justice.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro today announced the NSW Government will invest $27.9 million over the coming four financial years to expand the NSW Drug Court to Dubbo, on top of the recent $3.6 million upgrade to the city’s courthouse.
“The Drug Court is a tried and tested silver bullet to help address the abuse of highly addictive and dangerous illicit drugs that continue to cripple our communities.” For compete story Drug Court expands to Dubbo | Mirage News
(Also see The Judicial Educator At Its Best – Law for Recovery + Drug Courts + Secure Welfare = Rehabilitation!
On the other side, the 12‑step‑oriented model of addiction treatment needs to add medication as a fully respected, long-term option for patients with opioid use disorder. That is a huge step for them to take. Not all OUD patients will choose MAT, but having it available to them is in the patients' interests.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is pioneering this new hybrid approach. When people go into the HBF program, if they have problems with opioids, they are actively encouraged to use medications as part of this 12-step recovery-oriented system of care.
My goal is to help our two treatment camps to stop fighting with each other and to work together in mutual respect. Reach out your hand to the other folks and bring them in with you – into what you're doing. We are dealing with one disease involving many different drugs. Millions of addicted people need help. There is no one right way. There are many different paths to sustained recovery that need to work together to achieve the goals that none alone can achieve.
(“M.A.T. can be a helpful ‘circuit breaker’ in some contexts, but can never be an end in themselves, as long-term use of any toxin only aids and abets harms. ‘Sunset Clauses’ on M.A.T use can really only work with a drug use exiting therapeutic tool, such as 12 Step Programs simultaneously in play.” – Dalgarno Institute_
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