Understanding Fentanyl and Alcohol
Fentanyl and alcohol might seem like an unlikely combination, but exposure between the two is more common than you might think. Numerous studies have shown that abusing alcohol and narcotics, such as fentanyl, are comorbid conditions, meaning that they occur together. Thus, people will often either take both substances together or alternate which substance is being abused.
Even those who do not struggle with drug or alcohol abuse might still find themselves having to worry about the mixing of fentanyl and alcohol. Often, because the drug is prescribed for pain treatment, some people might want to continue to consume moderate amounts of alcohol. For this reason, even people who have not struggled with substance abuse might become inadvertently exposed to this combination.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl, also known as acetyl fentanyl, is an opiate used for pain relief in various conditions. These include cancer treatment, HIV therapy, and a host of other serious conditions. It is often combined with heroin or morphine. Fentanyl has been in use for quite some time but is still a relatively new drug in the United States.
Dangers of Fentanyl and Alcohol
Both fentanyl and alcohol are depressants that affect the central nervous system. They both depress breathing and damage the brain, heart, and lungs if consumed in large enough quantities. While fentanyl often produces feelings of euphoria, it also has a host of physical effects. Fentanyl use can cause those using the drug to suffer from seizures, constipation, dizziness, confusion, and unconsciousness.
Those that use or abuse alcohol face similar effects to fentanyl use. The brain is the center of emotion, and alcohol causes mood changes. It also alters memory and concentration. The effect on memory and concentration is especially dangerous since it interferes with decision making and judgment, causing behavior that a person might not otherwise do.
Fentanyl Side Effects
The most dangerous side effect of using fentanyl either correctly or illicitly is respiratory failure. This means that the body can no longer properly transport oxygen to the lungs. This makes it difficult for the body to recover from the drug’s effects and will eventually cut off oxygen to the brain, which is the leading cause of fentanyl deaths. Also, the liver can fail and lead to other complications.
Alcohol Side Effects
On the other hand, alcohol is more likely to lead to damage to the brain and mental processes. While these effects are often seen as the result of alcohol abuse, they can also result from single, heavy exposure to alcohol in great quantities, such as binge drinking. However, the effects on the brain and nervous system depend on how much alcohol is consumed. But generally speaking, long-term use of alcohol can have long-term negative consequences on your health.
Taking Two Depressants is a Bad Idea
Mixing alcohol and fentanyl would, of course, be a very bad idea. The main reason for this is because since they both act as depressants, they increase the effects of one another. For that reason, whatever effects felt by either substance are amplified, and it’s easy to not realize it at the moment. For this reason, even if you believe you might inadvertently be mixing alcohol and fentanyl, you should have a conversation with your doctor about potentially changing or stopping treatment with fentanyl.
How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
How long fentanyl remains in your system depends upon a variety of factors including:
The amount used
How long the drug is detectable in the system also depends on what kind of test is used. There are urine, blood, saliva, and hair follicle tests available. However, the most common and most cost-effective tests are urine tests.
For urine tests, just like with other opiates, fentanyl will leave the body pretty quickly. Most people will see the drug completely metabolized within 72 hours, but the metabolite fentanyl produces, what causes the drug test to come back positive, will usually take a bit longer, but in most people will only be about 96 hours until all the metabolites are clear from your system.
Fentanyl Patch and Alcohol
One of the little-known uses for fentanyl is the use of the fentanyl patch. Fentanyl patches are great for chronic pain management due to the drug’s strength and because it is so fast-acting. It is common for fentanyl patches to have up to 72 hours of timed releases for the prescription, and this can be modified depending on the level of pain.
It is advisable that the fentanyl patch and alcohol together are not a good combination even in moderation with alcohol. Because alcohol and fentanyl enhance each other’s effects, taking them can lead to a dangerous combination even under supervised conditions.
Fentanyl and Alcohol Treatment
Many people who are looking for fentanyl and alcohol treatment tend to seek the help of a therapist. Therapists can help you address your thoughts and beliefs about addiction. They can also support you through rebuilding relationships with friends and family and as you interact with them to rebuild trust, form new bonds, and create a support system. Another common type of treatment involves group therapy. This is a great way for those recovering from alcoholism or substance abuse to get together with others struggling with the same problem.
You should never feel as though you are stuck with a single treatment option. People’s needs might often change, and there are different types of treatment available depending upon individual circumstances. It is important to remember that there are many treatments for fentanyl and alcohol abuse and you should always be open to the possibility of seeking another treatment option if one is currently not working for you.
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