Citation: Amorphous_blue. "Eats at Something in your Soul: experience with Fentanyl (ID 43898)". Erowid.org. Jan 30, 2007. erowid.org/exp/43898
I was an Organic Chemistry student at a highly regarded American university. Working as a researcher in a Professor's lab, I was able to covertly carry out my long-time goal of synthesizing drugs. I made quite a few drugs, each of which is a story in itself, but the one that impacted me the most was fentanyl. Keep in mind that pure fentanyl is a white powder of tremendous potency - fentanyl CANNOT be safely used in its pure form. A portion must be weighed on a very accurate scale and either dissolved in water (recommended) or cut dramatically with another powder (riskier - if the fentanyl is not mixed well enough with the cut you could have a fatal overdose).
I have always been a fan of opiates, so fentanyl was not a totally new experience. I injected it intravenously (I could also get a plentiful supply of good syringes from my lab), and the high is strong and euphoric. I started out on doses ranging from 0.1 mg to 0.2 mg, maybe a few times per day. I also made some fentanyl blotters, each containing 0.2 mg, and these became popular among some of my friends. People generally took 1-2 tabs and held it on the tongue, as with LSD. My girlfriend and I were the only ones who ever injected it.
I had a totally free, pure, and unlimited supply, as well as a high liability for opiate addiction, so I became addicted almost immediately along with my girlfriend. Our tolerances grew so rapidly that it astonished me. We spent about 6 months total continuously on fentanyl, literally constantly. We went through about 3 grams during this time. By the time I quit, I was using around 20 mg per day. I would do about 1 mg in a shot, which is probably enough to kill two non-tolerant people. Fentanyl has an even shorter duration than morphine or heroin, so it is easy to shoot it constantly, every hour or perhaps even more.
Such a strong addiction did have some pretty negative effects on our bodies and souls. Neither of us ate very well, as it is very easy to ignore hunger. Sweets seemed to make up a large part of our diet. The constipation was pretty severe, which is very annoying and can cause further problems. I was quite drowsy most of the time, and had very little energy. The sheer slavery of addiction is very depressing and demoralizing, although you don't really feel anything too deeply with that much opiate.
On the other hand, I was surprised at how much I was able to function in life. I was still a student, and I actually did well in my classes that semester. No one really seemed know what I was doing. I would shoot up roughly twenty times a day, often in public bathrooms, and then go to classes and work. I was also shooting methamphetamine along with the fentanyl, which countered some of the drowsiness and kept me a little more alert. I have always believed that most of the harm associated with hard drugs such as heroin (or other illegal drugs, for that matter) comes from the side effects of its prohibition rather than the drug itself, and my experience with fentanyl strengthens this belief. When factors such as high cost, unknown purity, and difficult acquisition were eliminated, the situation was pretty livable.
But we still had to kick the shit. Because it eats at something in your soul, and we still had enough feeling left to want to be free of it. It would have been better to cut down gradually, but this is impossible in practice; we could not make the resolve last even a day. So we quit cold turkey, just dumped the remainder of it into a sink on the last day of the school semester.
I couldn't begin to accurately describe the withdrawls. We took very large amounts of tranquilizers and alcohol, hoping to knock us out for the severe acute phase of convulsing in pain. This worked only slightly; I would wake up freezing and drenched in sweat every hour or so and have to change clothes. On the second or third day my girlfriend got sick and started throwing up a lot, and her family took her to the hospital. They figured out what was going on pretty quickly, and she ended up in a rehab clinic for several days. I sweated it out at home (her family's house), unable to sleep at all for over seven days, barely able to walk down the stairs. It was the worst (maybe second worst...) thing I have ever lived through.
We both got better in a few weeks, and I felt extremely happy to be alive. We broke up about six months after this, for various reasons (although this probably had at least something to do with it). This happened several years ago, and I have used opiates occasionally in that time. I am still not sure if I can make myself stop wanting to use them. I will probably be addicted again at some point, and I can only hope that my wisdom from experiences like this one will help me to get through it more easily. If you become addicted to opiates, I can only wish you good luck and a safe journey back.
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