Understanding Fentanyl

So many have become very curious about the drug Fentanyl since the death of music icon Prince and the news of his overdose to this drug. Here are some astounding statistics along with addiction signs and symptoms that may be helpful to you or your loved one.

According to The Center For Disease Control from April 2005 to March 2007 an estimated 1,000 or more individuals have died from Fentanyl overdose and misuse.  In spite of strict regulations, the drug is still frequently prescribed for medical reasons.  In 2008, 7.64 million prescriptions were written for Fentanyl for medical reasons according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

 What is Fentanyl? 

It is a potent narcotic pain medication and is very similar but more powerful than morphine.  As a street drug, Fentanyl is known by many names such as:  “China White”, “Dance Fever”, “Apache”, “TNT”, “Goodfella”, “Murder 8”, and “Tango”.  Fentanyl gives a feeling of relaxation and euphoria blocking pain receptors and increasing dopamine in the brain.  Cancer patients use this drug as well as anyone suffering from severe pain but it can be quickly addictive and needs to be closely supervised by a physician if prescribed. 

Addiction to Fentanyl Signs:

  • Swelling

  • Constipation

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Shallow breathing

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Poor concentration

  • Confusion

  • Dizziness

  • Unconsciousness

  • Coma

It is worth noting that all drugs are not highly addictive.  In my hospital experience, some patients were fearful of addiction and would not take pain medications when they clearly needed them.  Some, not all, may have a physical propensity to addictive behavior and really have to be careful with temptations to take prescription pain medicines.  Make this knowledge clear to your doctor so alternative measures can be taken to relieve pain.  Most people do not have this physical propensity and with the proper levels and limited time use can avoid addictive outcomes.  In either case, overuse and all abuse with narcotics and especially Fentanyl is dangerous and can lead to death as in the case of Prince and also Michael Jackson and so many others.

Proceed with caution in all cases, follow the instructions of your physician and if any unusual signs occur, let your doctor know immediately.  Don’t wait!

Special Note: 

If you have had recent trauma, traumatic loss or injury; if you suffer from depression, make these points known to your doctor who can refer you to help needed to address these issues.  See a Christian Counselor who will address the emotional and spiritual implications of your suffering.  The delusion of well-being drugs can give is fleeting and is just that…a delusion.  It will only enhance your suffering.  Dealing with your emotional issues and receiving help to be healed from their effects is the best God-given help you can have.


Our Finest Hour

Isaiah 40:3-5 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Scripture states that we are closer than when we first believed to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. His great love keeps Him from coming right now. He doesn’t want that any should perish but all come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) There should be more excitement at the thought that Christ is coming again soon, however, it’s hard to fathom; just as it’s hard to fathom the spiritual life that we can’t see compared to the natural life that we can see. It’s hard to comprehend the awesome glory and beauty that is ours in paradise, when it is in such dire contrast to what is going on in the world and in our lives. It can look impossible today… a whirlwind of escalating change; more knowledge – less responsibility; more self gratification – less love and patience; more give me – less giving; more fear – less faith. In spite of it all, I am not alarmed; I am not afraid and I know who is in control. “I am the Lord your God, that takes you by the right hand and tells you, do not be afraid, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13) God will get us home.
It may look like things are hopeless but there is a song with these encouraging words: There is hope for the hopeless, rest for the weary and love for the broken hearts. There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, He’ll meet you wherever you are…Cry Out To Jesus! We can count on Him to see us through. This will not be our downfall but He will surely make this our finest hour.

This is a quote from one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13. When the nay-sayers were panicking because of the seeming impossibility of getting the astronauts back home safely, they commented, “This will be the worst disaster NASA has ever experienced.” The leader calmly stated, “With all due respect, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.” And that it was; due to the passionate teamwork, creativity, love, and faith in action from everyone involved. I am learning faith is exhibited in just this way. If we have faith in God who can do the impossible, than no matter what the circumstances, no matter what we see, no matter what people say, we believe the impossible IS possible. And that means good can and will prevail, and love conquers all.

Don’t give up! Be encouraged, keep the faith, and look up! Lift up your heads! Your redemption draws near! (Luke 21:28) Our finest hour is now and the best is yet to come.
Chaplain Gail Williams