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Updated: November 16, 2022

Fentanyl Addiction Can Make Detox More Difficult

Addiction to opioids comes with many symptoms, including painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bone pain, shivers, fevers, and shakes. Most people who try to stop using opioids will have some of these symptoms. However, with more potent drugs, there may be more powerful symptoms. For example, the addiction treatment field has found that people addicted to fentanyl, a drug that can be 50 to 100 stronger than heroin, may have tougher withdrawal symptoms than other clients.

Fentanyl Addiction Is Becoming More Common

Fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that all fentanyl overdoses are from tainted drugs or counterfeit pills. While these are one of the top causes of overdose deaths, a percentage of drug users still purposefully use fentanyl. Many of these people used heroin or Oxycontin for a long time and switched to a higher potency. Others may have legally been prescribed the drug and become addicted.

Whatever the case, fentanyl addiction is dangerous and full of misery. For people in its grips, withdrawal symptoms are often more intense and challenging to alleviate.

MAT And Fentanyl Treatment Challenges

Experts say buprenorphine, one of two medications used in Medication-Assisted Treatment, often can’t quell all withdrawal symptoms. Assessing their needs can be tricky. When a person gets sober, they do a Suboxone induction, a period where they go sober cold turkey and then begin their MAT. This induction helps the clinical professionals decide the dosage of MAT to help stave off symptoms and cravings. For people addicted to fentanyl, the highest dosage may not generate enough relief.

Some people who use fentanyl often have a “failed induction” because the drug isn’t out of their system before they begin treatment. This side effect is rare but more common among fentanyl users, who may not be able to describe their patterns or volume of fentanyl use adequately.

The second type of MAT that is helpful for people fentanyl users is methadone, a treatment that has been around for almost 50 years yet is still highly regulated. Because of this, there are many barriers to safe treatment. For example, most people on methadone treatment must go in person every day of the year to pick up and consume their Medication-Assisted Treatment. People without reliable transportation, childcare, or flexible work may be incapable of meeting the requirements of programs involving methadone.

Different states have different rules regarding MAT and access to treatment. People with health insurance often can find more flexible and convenient options. However, people seeking help who receive Medicaid may have further restrictions on where and how they receive Medication-Assisted Treatment.

Getting Help for Fentanyl or Substance Use Disorder

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid use or another substance use disorder, you’re not alone. Millions of people have reclaimed their lives through treatment and recovery. Opioid use disorder is a powerful disease, but recovery is possible. Recovery is an option no matter what drug you are using or how much you use it. The first step to recovery is picking up the phone.

Give us a call at 619-363-4767 to learn more about our programs.


If you or a loved one is looking for an effective drug rehab in San Diego, call 619-363-4767. One of our caring members is ready to answer all of your questions.

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