opioid addiction

Fentanyl Intervention

When you are worried that your loved one may be addicted to opioids, you want to know how to help. The synthetic opioid, fentanyl, can be particularly dangerous for someone with a substance use issue. You and your family may need to plan and conduct a fentanyl intervention, to guide your loved one toward overcoming their addiction.

Fentanyl Facts

The first step in a successful intervention is to educate yourself about the addiction. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid, similar to morphine, that can be taken by prescription but can also be made and used illegally. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. As a prescription medication, it is used to treat severe pain, often after surgery. It may also be used to treat chronic pain in patients who are physically tolerant of other opioids.

Fentanyl is a Schedule II prescription drug that is also known by brand names such as Sublimaze, Actiq, and Duragesic. Because it is relatively cheap to produce, it is prevalent among illegal street drugs. Users can be fooled, as the inexpensive drug can be pressed into pills that resemble OxyContin or Xanax. It can also be cut into heroin and other drugs sold on the street.

The Effects of Fentanyl

Fentanyl’s potency makes it addictive. Even when your loved one is taking the drug as prescribed by a healthcare provider, they can still develop a dependence on it. As a result, they could experience serious withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop using it on their own. Although there is a difference between dependence and addiction, dependence can lead to addiction.

When your loved one is addicted, they have the most severe form of a substance use disorder, usually characterized by compulsive drug use and drug seeking. They often cannot control their behavior because of their addiction, even when it causes harmful consequences.

Your loved one will continue to use the drug despite the problems it causes them at work or at home. Addiction takes over your loved one’s life. The effects of fentanyl use can include nausea, confusion, extreme happiness, drowsiness, a feeling of sedation, constipation, problems breathing, and even unconsciousness.

Serious Risk of Overdose

If your loved one overdoses on fentanyl, it can result in serious adverse effects and life-threatening symptoms. Their breathing can slow or stop completely. When the amount of oxygen going to their brain is decreased significantly, that could lead to a coma, permanent brain damage, or death.

Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the US. In 2017, 59% of the deaths that were related to opioid use involved fentanyl. Overall, drug overdose deaths increased from 2018 to 2019, with over 70,630 drug overdose deaths reported in 2019. Deaths involving synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, increased to 36,359 in 2019. There was an almost 14-fold increase from 2012 to 2019 in the number of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids that were primarily fentanyl.

Planning a Fentanyl Intervention

If you suspect your loved one of being addicted to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a family intervention could truly save their life. When you plan a fentanyl intervention, you are addressing the issues caused by the addiction with the goal of having your loved one seek help in the form of a quality addiction treatment program.

You want to help the individual realize that their behavior is self-destructive and could result in devastating consequences for them. You will also point out how their drug use and addiction is harming the other people in their lives, including family members and close friends. When you conduct the intervention, you will emphasize how much you care about the individual and that you want to see them get the help they need.

Often, someone who is addicted cannot see that their substance abuse is causing problems for them or for anyone else. With the help of a qualified intervention specialist, you will present facts about their behavior and its consequences, establish boundaries and goals, and guide them to the treatment that will help them and the rest of your family as they work to overcome their addiction.


When someone you care about is struggling with drug addiction, including abusing synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, the intervention team at Whitman Recovery Service is here to help. We work with you to help your loved get the treatment they need to start on the road to recovery from a substance use disorder. Please call (210) 291-0278 if you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction or mental illness. Our team has the expertise to help your family begin the journey of recovery.