Drug Addiction

What is Fentanyl and How Does It Work?

Fentanyl is a drug classified as an opioid, like morphine and heroin. Opioids are all drugs that come from the opium poppy plant. While some of them can be made from opium poppy directly, others are manufactured in labs. 

Opioids act directly in the opioid receptors, which are responsible for managing how we feel pain and pleasure. These drugs then help release chemicals that make the user feel relaxed. These substances also affect people’s sensibility to pain. Prescription opioids are mainly used for pain management for individuals who have chronic pain or are undergoing procedures like chemotherapy.

It is possible to safely use opioids when prescribed by a doctor, as long as the instructions are followed correctly. However, these drugs are meant to be short-term prescriptions, used only for a few days. Long-term treatment with opioids can be risky and is only recommended for extreme cases. With time, the body can grow accustomed to the rush of chemicals released by opioid use, which can cause chemical and neural imbalances.

That is why many government agencies have made efforts to better control the frequency of prescriptions. Many states have done their best to keep the number of prescriptions as low as possible. The reason for that is because the U.S. is currently going through what is considered an opioid crisis – and the current main culprit is fentanyl. But this issue has gone beyond prescription opioids and has worsened due to illegal versions and analogs.

Fentanyl can also be prescribed legally, and it is often used to treat severe pain associated with advanced cancer. Usually, it is prescribed as a patch or as lozenges, and it can also be injected or used as an oral or nasal spray. But the drug has been diverted since becoming more popular and consumed illegally, often mixed with other drugs like heroin or cocaine. It has been known to be crushed as a powder to facilitate substance abuse.

The Effects of Fentanyl and Addiction

Fentanyl itself acts just like any other opioid – by attaching itself to the opioid receptors, which control pain and emotion. Once it’s done that, it increases dopamine release. This, in turn, affects the brain’s reward center, bringing on a sense of euphoria and relaxation.

The reason why people become addicted to an opioid is that, with time, the brain becomes used to its presence. After prolonged use, it needs the effects generated by fentanyl use to even function properly. Addiction to opioids affects judgment, decision-making, self-control, and other behaviors. For all of these reasons and more, the medical community has come to agree that addiction is a brain disease.

The difference between fentanyl and other legal drugs like morphine is its potency. Compared to morphine, legal fentanyl is around 100 times more potent. This means users have a higher chance of overdosing on it. And what’s worse: fentanyl analogs tend to be even stronger, and since they’re not controlled substances, it’s harder to predict the outcome of use.

Even when using the drug correctly, there are possible adverse side effects. So, naturally, abusing fentanyl can bring on serious issues. The most commonly reported symptoms by people who have used it are:

These, however, are not the only possible issues, and they can get more and more intense. With time, people have reported suffering from arrhythmia, along with chest pains. Others have also had both vision and auditory hallucinations. Slowed breathing, however, can lead to shallow breathing, and some fentanyl users have even stopped breathing while asleep.

What is Fentanyl and How Does It Work?

This slowed breathing can also lead to another life-threatening issue, called hypoxia. This condition is characterized by lowered levels of oxygen reaching the brain. Hypoxia can cause serious, permanent effects, such as brain damage, comas, and even death.

Other issues not related to side effects might arise from fentanyl use. Those who inject the drug and might share needles can contract diseases like HIV and hepatitis. Clouded judgment during the high can lead to risky behavior, such as unprotected sex, putting users at risk of contracting STDs. Kidney and liver complications might be triggered by prolonged use as well. Fentanyl is metabolized in the liver and then broken down in the liver, so it can overwork both organs. 

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

The presence of a drug in the system depends on what is called elimination half-life. In simpler terms, it is the amount of time the body takes to process and eliminate half of the original dose of the drug. Fentanyl is considered a fast-acting opioid, so it might start metabolizing quicker than long-acting ones.

Different possible tests can be done to detect fentanyl in the system: blood, urine, and hair. It is hard to predict the exact time it will take for it not to show up in these tests, but there is a general average:

Blood – anywhere between 5 and 48 hours after the last dose.

Urine (most commonly used by employers) – anywhere between 24 and 72 hours after the last dose.

Hair – up to about 90 days after the last dose.

*It is important to know that there is a possibility for a false positive in case you’ve taken Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Since Benadryl can trigger a false positive, you should inform the lab and/or testing agency in case you’ve taken it before testing.

The reason why you can only get an average of fentanyl half-life is that there are many variables in the equation. In order to know how long fentanyl will stay in the system, a few factors need to be taken into account:

Dose – Since half-life is about half of the original dose taken, the total amount of the drug in the system will affect how long it can be detected. The bigger the dose, the longer it will take to be flushed out completely. 

Metabolism – While there is no “speed” rate for metabolizing drugs, people with impaired renal or liver function will take longer to metabolize it. That is because fentanyl is initially metabolized into norfentanyl in the liver, which is then broken down in the kidneys. Anything that might slow down the metabolism will affect half-life.

Source of pain – For those taking it for pain management, the source of pain will “use” fentanyl at different rates. Those with severe burns, for instance, may experience faster clearance of the drug. This is because of cardiac output and hepatic blood flow, which speed up the process. 

How to Get Fentanyl Out of Your System

Unlike substances like alcohol, fentanyl won’t get out of your system if you drink more water, exercise, sweat, etc. And even after being metabolized, fentanyl leaves detectable metabolites in the system long after being processed. The only way to flush fentanyl out is to stop taking the drug completely. Beating a test is only possible by genuinely not taking the drug.

In case you’re researching this because you’re afraid you might have overdosed, you need to seek medical attention. The only drug administered during an overdose is called naloxone. It does not remove the toxins from the system, it just blocks opiate receptors in the body. They are administered by trained professionals once they get on the scene. 

Naloxone only acts for about 30-90 minutes after being administered. By that time, however, opioids might still be active in the system. It is only an immediate measure to be taken in an emergency, but it doesn’t clear the system of opioids. That is why you must call for help in case of an overdose, as naloxone is only a temporary solution.

Blocking opiate receptors instantly means that you will go into withdrawal, and may start experiencing its symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is vomiting. That said, if the person is unconscious, they should be put in a safe position to avoid vomit aspiration. Another reported symptom is dope sickness, which will also be temporary.

Get Rid of Fentanyl Dependence Safely At Coastal Detox

Fentanyl is currently one of the biggest menaces in the U.S. for drug and alcohol addiction. Thousands of families have been impacted by its devastating effects. But luckily, the medical and psychiatric community has been learning and preparing for it, coming up with ways to overcome this addiction. 

At Coastal Detox, we are proud to be a part of the solution, designing programs made to help those addicted to fentanyl to get clean and healthy again.

We have designed programs to suit everyone’s needs, no matter the level of addiction. Our addiction treatment pairs medical and psychiatric knowledge and supervision with holistic techniques. All treatment sessions are done at our unit in Stuart, in state-of-the-art facilities, with a team prepared for any emergencies.

If you or a loved one are in dire need of help, contact us today via telephone or online. Our team will be able to answer any questions you might have and provide all the information you need. We’ll be happy to tell you more about our multiple treatment programs and the possible solutions to your problem. You can even schedule a tour of our facilities to see how you feel. We hope to be the ones to guide you in your path to recovery, and we hope you’ll start today.

Illegal and legal drugs work on the brain in a variety of ways. One of the ways they work is they change the way that neurotransmitters work in the brain, which changes the user’s emotions and, ultimately, the way they think and behave. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that are sent between brain cells that relay information. They are not permanent parts of the physical brain like brain cells. Often the brain reabsorbs neurotransmitters. 

We at Coastal Detox are committed to not only educating our patients on the effects of substances but also educating the general public in hopes that people will be able to be better prepared for their fight against the drug addiction epidemic.

What Do Neurons Do?

They send messages through chemicals released from the synapses in the brain. Brain cells (also known as neurons) do not touch each other. The synapse is the part of the neuron that is closest to the other neuron. Neurotransmitters can also signal the brain cells do certain things, producing feelings like anger, joy, anxiety, and in people with substance abuse disorder, substance cravings. 

Drugs such as heroin, Zoloft, alcohol, and other substances affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, producing a pleasurable high and often undesirable side effects like depression. In some cases, they produce psychosis, and, ultimately, addiction.      

Neurotransmitters also help the neurons regulate:

  • Mood
  • Coordination
  • Breathing 
  • Heart rate
  • Ability to learn
  • Emotions
  • Physical sensations 

And almost anything else that goes on in the body and the brain. 

Do Brain Cells Affect Neurotransmitters?

When someone uses a substance such as ketamine, opioid-like oxycodone, alcohol, or methamphetamines, the effect is determined by which neurotransmitters they affect. Most of these substances bind to the neurotransmitters directly. Many substances affect multiple neurotransmitters at once. There are dozens of neurotransmitters that scientists have identified, and our understanding of how the brain and neurotransmitters work and their different parts is continually growing.

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is used by the body to regulate:

  • Learning
  • Motivation
  • Kidney function
  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Happiness
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness 
  • Attention
  • Pain processing
  • Control of nausea and vomiting

Dopamine is one of the most famous neurotransmitters.

How Do Substances Affect Neurotransmitters?

Drugs like methamphetamine, heroin, prescription opioids, alcohol, and many more affect the brain’s use and output of neurotransmitters. Some substances speed up the production of neurotransmitters, others slow down productions, and some even mimic neurotransmitters. The way that the neurotransmitters speed up or slow down the production of other neurotransmitters is that they bind to or mimic other neurotransmitters in a way that sends a signal to the brain cell to tell that brain cell to produce more or less of another neurotransmitter.

What Will Your Brain Do If You Stop Taking Substances?

Depending on the substance and length of abuse, it can take days to years to regain normal neurotransmitter production in your brain. 

Some substances, like heroin, affect the brain in the same way that a natural neurotransmitter would and stimulate the neuron it bonds to make it produce other neurotransmitters like dopamine. All substances, both legal and illegal, change the way that the brain operates.

For example: if someone takes a drug like methamphetamine (also known as meth or ice), the brain will stop producing some of its own neurotransmitters (dopamine). After taking meth in high doses for an extended period of time, dopamine production can severely slow down the brain’s natural production for up to 4 years. 

Is Dopamine the Only Thing That Causes Addiction?

While dopamine and its production in the brain are important to how an addiction is formed, progresses, and how sobriety can be found it is not the only element in the process. Some scientists now think that dopamine has more to do with reinforcement than reward. However, dopamine is still is thought to help produce a pleasurable effect.

Can I Get Dopamine Supplements?

There is no over the counter supplement version of dopamine. However, there is a prescription version known as Inotropic. This medication is only available by a doctor’s prescription. 

Inotropic can have serious side effects even when a doctor is closely monitoring the patient. Online sources of Inotropic and other prescription dopamine products are not advised and are often unregulated. This means that they might be contaminated or even a different substance than advertised. There is no way to verify what you are buying. 

Incorrect usage of synthetic dopamine can cause:

What is Serotonin? 

The second most famous chemical in the brain is serotonin. There is some debate among scientists about whether serotonin is a neurotransmitter or a hormone. Hormones, like neurotransmitters, are also signals that the brain cells produce to coordinate their behavior with each other and with the body in general. Like dopamine, serotonin has a huge effect on the brain, serotonin effects:

  • Moods including
  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Happiness
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness 
  • Confusion
  • Self-esteem
  • Bone density
  • Blood clotting abilities
  • Control nausea and vomiting

In other words, serotonin affects a lot of the same cells in the same ways that dopamine does as well as some others. The brain is very complicated. Similar does not mean the same. 

What are the Main Substances That Interact With Neurotransmitters?

There are seven types of drugs, and they interact with neurotransmitters in different ways.

Central Nervous System (CNC) Depressants

Also simply known as depressants, these drugs include:

These are just a few examples of depressant substances. Most of these substances are commonly abused, especially opioids. These substances depress the brain cell’s actives causing relaxation, sleepiness, euphoria, increased confidence, mood swings, vomiting and/or nausea, unconsciousness, coma, and sometimes death. Depressants work by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This reduces brain activity and makes the heart and other organs slow down.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants

CNS Stimulants vs. Depressants

Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants. They increase alertness, attention, and energy. They increase the amount of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. The feeling that the abuser of stimulants gets is an energetic, euphoric rush. Some users of stimulants have been known to stay awake for days at a time.

Some examples of stimulants are:


Hallucinogens produce varying effects on a person. Often people hallucinate or see, hear, and touch things that are not there. The effects of hallucinogens vary according to the person, their mood, what other substances they are taking, and other factors. In other words, it is hard to tell how a hallucinogen will affect any particular person at any particular time. Having a bad reaction to a hallucination is known as a ‘bad trip’. 

Cross Tolerance in Hallucinogens

Cross tolerance is when a person has a tolerance to one substance and it heightens the tolerance to another substance at the same time. Tolerance is when someone needs to take more of the substance, they are abusing to get the same pleasurable effects. One example of cross-tolerance is that many hallucinogens such as peyote and Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) may produce a tolerance to each other as well as a tolerance to psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms.

How Do Psychedelic Substances Disrupt Neurotransmitters in the Brain?

Mood altering drugs like LSD heighten serotonin levels significantly. All hallucinogens stimulate serotonin production. Serotonin is another famous neurotransmitter. In particular, they stimulate 2A receptors. This can cause the neurons to fall out of sync with each other to some degree.  

Dissociative Anesthetics

Dissociative anesthetics inhibit the sensation of pain and can cause the user to feel dissociated or disconnected from the world around them and/or themselves. People often make bad decisions because their brain cells are disturbed by drugs. 

Ketamine Use and How It Affects Neurotransmitters

One of the drugs, ketamine, has been used as an anesthetic for people undergoing surgery and has also used in veterinary practices. Ketamine is also used as an antidepressant for people with hard to treat depression. It affects the GABA, glutamine, and serotonin neurotransmitters. It causes a rapid surge in both glutamine and GABA. Ketamine can also affect a person 24 hours after they take it. This means that a ketamine high is long-lasting. Some of the effects of ketamine when used at too high of a dose, which is easy as it is so strong.

Ketamine abuse can cause:

Narcotic Analgesics or Opioids Effect on Neurotransmitters

These drugs stimulate dopamine production in the brain and prevent dopamine from being reabsorbed by the brain, causing an extremely pleasurable experience. Narcotic analgesics are drugs like heroin, opium, methadone, and heroin. Opioids bind to specialized opioid receptors in the brain and physically change the brain.

Opioids Produce Dopamine

Opioids are very commonly abused because they also make the brain produce more dopamine and stop it from being reabsorbed by the brain. Several opioids have medical uses, including fentanyl and methadone. 

Fentanyl is used in a medical setting for people who are expecting extreme pain like late-stage cancer patients. Not only is methadone used to taper people off other opioids medically, but methadone, although it is an often abused opioid, is also used to help wean people off other opioids such as heroin as well as alcohol. 

Inhalants Effect on Neurotransmitters

Most inhalants slow down the brain, and the effect that people notice is similar to alcohol, such as slurred speech, euphoria, lack of coordination, and dizziness. Inhalants are, like the name suggests, drugs that are generally inhaled rather than snorted, injected, or taken orally. Some common inhalants are paint thinner, hair spray, nitrates (prescription medication for chest pain). 

Cannabis (Marijuana) and It’s Effect on Neurotransmitters

Cannabis is the scientific name for marijuana. Cannabis use to thought to permanently change the chemical and physical makeup of the brain. The full effects of cannabis are widely disputed.

Alcohol and It’s Effect on Neurotransmitters

Alcohol is one of the most abused substances in the world. 61 million people in the United States abuse alcohol by binge drinking, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 16 million people reported to be heavy alcohol uses, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as well.

Why is Alcohol Addiction Hard to Treat?

Alcohol substance abuse can be hard to treat because part of the treatment plan for continued sobriety is avoiding places where you used to abuse the substance. For some people, the presence of alcohol alone could trigger the person with substance abuse at the beginning of a person’s road to recovery to crave alcohol. This makes it hard if not nearly impossible for someone to stop abusing alcohol on their own if they have an addiction. It is very important to get clinical help for any substance abuse problem you might have, including alcohol abuse.  

How Alcohol Affects Equilibrium in the Brain

The brain tries to maintain a certain balance or equilibrium in its neurotransmitters. Substances like alcohol shift the brain’s equilibrium by making the brain give out certain neurotransmitters like GABA. Over a long period of time, the brain starts to try to combat this slow down by giving out neurotransmitters such as glutamate to try to speed itself back up and put itself back in a healthy equilibrium. This does not protect the brain very much from the negative effects of alcohol. 

Does Alcohol Create Dopamine?

Another reason that alcohol is so addictive is that it stimulates the production of dopamine from the brain cells at a higher rate than the brain cells would naturally produce dopamine on their own. Many substances abused provide a change in dopamine levels. Some prevent the brain from reabsorbing dopamine. 

What is Naltrexone, and Can It Help Reduce Alcohol Cravings?

Alcohol dependence can be eased with naltrexone. Naltrexone helps people gain their sobriety by helping suppress their urge to consume alcohol. Naltrexone is also used in medical tapering for opioid dependence. Methadone, a well-known opioid that is often abused, is also used to help people taper off alcohol.

There is No Miracle Cure to Addiction

As you are starting your road to sobriety, please do not be tempted to take quick fixes or miracle “cures” of any sort. These are dangerous. Unless something is prescribed or recommended by a licensed medical professional that specializes in addiction treatment, it is important not to do it. The brain is very complex, and something that might seem common sense on the surface might actually be very, very bad for you. It could even be deadly.

Professional Care is Important During Detoxification

These symptoms are another reason that it is important to have professional care while you are going through detoxification for alcohol abuse. Detox can be safe, but it is important to have professional care. The brain reacts like this because the neurotransmitters it was using to try to combat the effects of the alcohol have not yet had time to readjust themselves and that can be hard for the brain to deal with.

Can Abusing Substance For Too Long Cause Permanent Damage?

Abusing substances for a long period of time has very negative consequences for the user’s brain and body. The human body was not meant to use these substances at this level for very long, if at all. 

However, many effects of these substances can be reversed over a long period of time. These positive changes are called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is when the brain makes new connections and pathways around the damaged parts of the brain. Thanks to neuroplasticity, the brain will be able to enjoy things that it used to enjoy before the substance abuse disorder developed. 

How Can I Recover?

There is no quick fix for addiction recovery. However, your road to recovery will become valuable to you. You will form new, strong friendships. Your family will start to want to spend time with you. And you will not have to constantly worry about where you are going to get your next dose of substances from or be afraid of the violence that is usually part of that world. You will get your life back. 

When you are ready for help for your substance use disorder, please contact us.










What Is Enabling?

Enabling happens when a person supports someone’s addiction through their thoughts or behaviors. This can be done by a parent, a significant other, relatives – anyone that is part of an addict’s life. In a way, an enabler protects the addict from the consequences of their addiction and/or tries to justify their behavior. And while it is important to try to understand what an addict is going through, understanding their reasons should not be the same as justifying their actions.

Enablers are people who usually have good intentions, but don’t realize that their actions further encourage an addict’s behavior. By shielding them from facing the facts, it stops them from realizing just how dangerous and toxic what they’re doing is. This, in turn, makes them not want to seek help or even realize that they need it. Considering how many addicts are in denial about their condition, all an enabler does is support that denial.

Being an enabler might seem like you are helping by not being harsh on then, not adding to their probably already rough reality. However, as the addict prolongs their exposure to the substance, they become more and more addicted and out of control. And what’s worse, the damage being done is also getting more intense – and before too long, it might become permanent.

Confronting someone with an addiction is rough, and it won’t be easy. But in the long run, it is what is best for them. The more you enable them, the more they will lose respect for themselves and faith in themselves. And those feelings will slowly transfer to those who have enabled them.

In order to stop enabling, you must first recognize the cycles of enabling. Then, understand the difference between helping an addict and enabling them. And finally, break the cycle and start acting.

Signs of Enabling

How to stop Enabling infographic

In The Family

A parent or a spouse might have a harder time saying no or confronting their loved one about addiction. But that is not just because talking about it is difficult. Some of them might feel like they might be a factor that pushed them into addiction. They might blame themselves for the addiction somehow – either by thinking they caused it or because they feel like they could’ve done more to stop the substance abuse.

Actions and words send out messages to people suffering from addiction, even when we don’t realize it. Enabling can be subtle, but enough for someone abusing substances to continue doing so. Some of the most common ways families enable their loved one not to face their addiction is:

Some of these behaviors might seem like an attempt to help the addict be safe. Others might seem like well-intended “tough love”. But they all either allow them to continue abusing or just make things worse. At their core, they are all ways to avoid getting proper, professional help for addiction recovery. 

At School And/Or The Workplace

As previously mentioned, enabling is not something that only family members or friends might do. Many professional or academic institutions might have policies against drinking or using drugs on the grounds. However, only forbidding it is not all that a teacher, a mentor, or a boss can do. In fact, by avoiding an obvious case of someone in need of help or covering for them, they might also be enabling them. Even if they might seem ok, they might need help.

While these might not be close friends or be a part of their personal lives, they can still see and do something. Teachers are responsible for the well being of their students. Managers and bosses need to be on the lookout for their employees. Coworkers and colleagues might be as close as friends, and as such, they are close enough to help. Either way, it is possible to indirectly or even directly enable them in many ways, such as:

While they might not be the ones fully responsible for their students or coworkers, they can still act responsibly. If not for the sake of the addict, then at least for the safety of those around them. Many of these institutions have counselors, HR reps, and other people who might help them in some way.

learn to say no

Risks of Enabling

As substance abuse becomes the root of toxic behavior, being around someone engaging in it might drive someone to behave negatively as well. Things are bound to go downhill relationship-wise because substance abuse leads to negative, sometimes risky behavior. When people are in a situation where they are pushed to their limit, it is hard to predict how they’ll behave. 

Eventually, abusive behavior, such as verbal or physical aggression, might take place. These altercations and fights might not just affect those directly involved, but those around them as well. That is especially the case for children who might become equally traumatized by witnessing this experience. Parental substance abuse can create trauma in many ways.

In fact, kids and teenagers might also be at risk of becoming influenced by that. This influence can go beyond perceiving and learning toxic behaviors. When growing up with an addict, children and teenagers might be influenced to abuse substances as well. It might happen as early as in their teens or later in life. 

Younger members of the family might also engage in what is called role-reversal. This takes place when the children take on the roles of their parents. They might start working at an early age to support the family because their parents can’t keep a job. They could start raising their siblings on their own or take on duties that a parent is meant to have at the house. This leaves emotional scars and can lead to emotional problems in the future.

A common problem among family members dealing with addiction is codependency, and it presents itself in many ways. Essentially, it happens when two people rely on each other in a dysfunctional way. In the case of addiction, it is a behavioral condition where a person enables another’s addiction, irresponsibility, and/or under-achievement. After some time, the addict will become too dependent on their loved ones, and their loved ones might take on their suffering and responsibilities as if it were their own.

How To Stop Enabling

First and foremost, truly helpful behavior should be about getting help for rehabilitation and getting rid of addiction. Not through force, threats, insults, fights, ultimatums, or punishments. Getting treatment should be the basis and the motive behind everything you try to do for an addict. By keeping that in mind, you can remember and understand better how to help rather than enable.

If you have enabled them so far, that does not mean all hope is lost. There is a lot you can start doing right now in order to lead them to seek help for their addiction. 

Set boundaries – these are meant to be for you, not for the addict. You cannot control their behavior, but you can decide the role it will have in your life. You need to explain these boundaries and stick to them as well clearly. Things like “not using my car to go to bars”, “not using at the house”, “not taking my money to buy drugs or alcohol”, etc.

Do not make excuses for them – understanding why they might be abusing substances is one thing (a divorce, unemployment, depression, anxiety, etc.). Saying that is it ok to use drugs or drink because of it, however, is enabling. Do not justify their abuse, do not cover, and/or lie for them.

Talk to them about their addiction – It might seem difficult, but there has to be a calm, objective talk about the problem. An intervention organized by someone who can properly lead one is a great option.

Encourage them to seek treatment (on their own) – Tell them you support them and that you can help them seek treatment. However, make sure they are taking action towards recovery and do not baby or do it for them. They should be the ones researching, visiting centers, finding support groups, etc.

Participate in family activities – Whether it is support groups or at the rehab center, taking part in the recovery process is important. Many centers provide family therapy, which is a way of working on the dynamic of the family, providing information, and making family members understand how they can truly help.

Not enabling is not just about the well-being of the person suffering from addiction. It is also about your own health and that of your family. By neglecting them through enabling their behavior, you are also neglecting yourself and other loved ones. Addiction can take a toll on those who are not engaging in substance abuse, too. 

Get The Help Needed At Coastal Detox

The first step towards recovery might seem big and scary, both for an addict and for those who care about them. We all want the rehabilitation process to be as smooth and painless as possible – and Coastal Detox can provide that. 

Our facility is located on Florida’s Treasure Coast, and it is the perfect setting for those who want to start over, free from addiction. Patients have the best-quality accommodations and can try chef-prepared meals. Our Stuart, Florida center is committed to your safety, comfort, and privacy as you receive treatment.

Besides medical and psychiatric help, we have many additional services that have therapeutic properties. From holistic treatment to trauma therapy and relapse prevention, we go above and beyond. And we have services that suit the needs of many for every step of the way, including detox, inpatient treatment, and even a program for working professionals.

Coastal Detox accepts most major insurance providers, and we have partnered up with many of these insurers in order to make treatment more affordable to patients. If you need help, we can clarify any doubts and concerns regarding insurance coverage or payment options.

If this seems like what you or your loved one might need, do not hesitate to contact us. We can give you all the information you need so that you can choose the option that fits your needs. It doesn’t matter how bad things are – everyone deserves to get help, and it is not too late.

There are three stages to relapse, emotional, mental, and physical. These stages can start long before the person is aware that they are slipping into the relapse pattern. The relapse process happens gradually. Sometimes it can even take months from the start of relapse to the time the person picks up a substance to abuse. We at Coastal Detox are here to help if you are in need of drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation. We can help you get back on the road to recovery.

How Do I Know if I’m Going Through the Emotional Phase of Relapse?

There are several emotional and behavioral signs that you are going through the first phase of relapse. These emotions and behaviors are:

Are Boundaries Important to Prevent Relapse?

Many people who are on their long-term road to recovery are afraid of being selfish and will put the needs of others before their own. It is important for you to practice self-care and set healthy boundaries. You cannot care for your loved ones if you do not take care of yourself. 

Is Self-Care Important on My Road to Recovery?

Self-care is important to maintain your sobriety that it is emphasized in most clinical rehabilitation programs. Self-care is also extremely important in maintaining your sobriety if you have a co-occurring disorder. A co-occurring disorder is when someone has one or more other mental health disorders as well as a substance abuse disorder. 

What Does HALT Mean for Addiction Recovery?

A way to remind yourself that you are not taking good care of yourself is the acronym HALT. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Denial is often a part of the emotional stage of relapse. However, if you catch yourself going down to the road back to addiction, getting out of that pattern and back to your road to recovery is easier the sooner you catch yourself heading back to the end stage of relapse, physical relapse. 

Is it Important to Attend My 12 Step Meetings?

It is very important to stay in contact with someone who can recognize the symptoms of the relapse process. One of the most important parts of some post-clinical programs like 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is the sponsorship program. A sponsor in a 12-step program usually has at least 1-2 years of active sobriety. 

Who Can I Trust to Help Me Identify if I am Going to Relapse?

If you have a sponsor, definitely have that person as a standby. If not, make sure a family member or friend, who understands your struggle is available for help.  It is important for you to trust the people in your life who have a history of caring for you. You should also share the symptoms of all the stages of relapse with them so that they can help you as well as information on relapse prevention. They might be able to spot a relapse coming before you can.

Be Sure to Listen to Concerns From Those You Trust

It is important to listen to a sponsor or other trusted person in your life if they tell you that your behavior and personality seem to be changing and if those changes are positive or some of the warning signs listed in this article. It is also important to remember HALT. If you are having a hard time thinking about if you are having any HALT symptoms and contact someone to help you.

Do I Absolutely Have to Go to My 12 Step or S.M.A.R.T Meetings?

It is also important that you do not stop going to meetings. People at your meetings might also be able to tell if you are going through the stages leading up to using again. 12 step programs and S.M.A.R.T are not punishing reminders of what you went through. They can keep you in touch with what you need to do to maintain your sobriety. Many people who are in 12 step programs find that being a sponsor or helping others maintain their sobriety also helps them. It is often satisfying to most people to be able to give back. 

How Do I Know if I am Going Through the Mental Stage of Relapse?

Your poor self-care will continue throughout this phase and most people stop going to their 12 step or other recovery meetings and/or therapy. During the mental phase of relapse, your mind is at war with itself. Part of you want to use very badly and the other part of you knows that it is not a good thing and that you shouldn’t do it. You are actively thinking about relapsing.

Do Avoiding High-Risk Areas Make Me Weak?

Some people do not avoid high-risk areas. High-risk areas are places that make you want to use substances again. They might be places where you used to use, buy the substances, or places that might affect you for reasons that are unknown to you. Some people do not avoid high-risk areas because they think that avoiding trouble areas makes them weak. That is not the case. You need to do what you need to do to maintain your sobriety. 

What Do People Who are in the Mental Stage of Relapse Think About?

During the mental stage of relapse, the person with a substance use disorder begins to actively think about relapsing. You might find yourself:

How Do I Know if I am Going Through the Physical Stage of Relapse?

During the physical stage of relapse, the person will get in their car, drive to their dealer, a liquor store, or wherever they need to go to obtain their substances and take them.

What is the Difference Between a Lapse and a Relapse?

A ‘lapse’ is the first drink or the first use. A ‘relapse’ is the continued drinking or use after that. Unfortunately, when some people have a relapse they choose to ‘get the most out of it they can’. This might mean going to extremes with their substance abuse. 

What Is the Biggest Danger in Relapsing?

It is important to remember if you relapse that you may have not been using for a while. Many people die because they take in too much alcohol or too many drugs, and do not realize or forget that they have less of a tolerance than they did before they started their clinical recovery journey. The longer you have been on your road to recovery the less of a tolerance you still have to drugs and or alcohol.

Where can I Go to Get Help After I Relapse?

After you relapse it is important for you to contact someone you trust and plan on how to return to your road to recovery. We, at Coastal Detox, work with people who have relapsed and want to get back to their sobriety journey. We have trained professionals who can help you gain a better understanding of yourself, your triggers, and help you create a better sobriety plan. Often your plan just needs adjustment. There is nothing morally wrong with you. Addiction is a health condition like asthma. You wouldn’t tell someone with asthma to just suck it up, throw away their inhaler, and start to breathe. No one should be saying those sorts of things to you. Including yourself. 

When you are ready to get back on your road to recovery please contact us . Call us at: (877) 978-3125.




Flakka is a man-made drug which causes a high similar to cocaine. It has a similar effect as “bath salts,” but flakka has the potential to be a much more dangerous drug than cocaine. 

Flakka is versatile in its many forms of ingestion. Flakka can be smoked, injected, snorted or even injected and can lead to a range of extreme and negative symptoms. It produces a high which is widely considered as an “excited delirium,” marked by violent behavior and spikes in body temperature and paranoia. It also gives users the feeling that they have incredible strength resulting in a fury that can only be related to the popular Marvel Comics character, The Incredible Hulk.

Most synthetic drugs that are abused in America come from China and is either sold over the Internet or even through convenient stores and illegal drug dealers. A single dose of flakka can cost between $3 and $5, which makes this drug a very cheap alternative to coke and even meth.

Drug dealers often target the young and poor population and also try to enlist homeless people to buy and sell this deadly and crazy drug. It’s because these people are already considered disadvantaged in terms of chronic disease and access to proper health care.

Florida seems to be particularly hard hit by the flakka craze and resulting in deadly overdoses.

There have been reported about three or four hospitalizations within a single day in Broward County in South Florida, and even more on weekends. It is unclear why the Sunshine State is considered such a “hotbed” for flakka abuse, but that doesn’t change the staggering facts of its wide use and abuse within the county and the state as a whole. 

A recent survey of American high school students revealed that almost 1% of teenagers knowingly used flakka within the past year according to data collected by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and published findings in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. In addition to deliberately abusing the drug, it is also nicknamed “$5 Insanity” and “gravel”, 19.2% of American teenagers who reported using flakka used it more than 40 times; a very scary reality for any parent within the U.S.

Flakka: The Effects of Abuse

Flakka, which derives its name from a Spanish slang word meaning: a beautiful woman (“la flaca”). Flakka contains a chemical that is close in makeup to MDPV, which is a key ingredient in bath salts. These chemicals bind and thwart molecules on the surface of neurons that normally keep the levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters, dopamine, and serotonin, in “check”. Cocaine (Coke) and methamphetamine (Meth) have very similar modes of action within the brain, but the chemicals that are found in flakka have a long-lasting effect. 

Effects of Flakka or Bath Salts Abuse

A typical flakka high can last from one up to several hours and it is possible that the neurological damage from the effects can be permanent. Not only does the drug sit on neurons, but it can also destroy them. Flakka lingers around in the brain for longer than cocaine and because of this fact, the extent of the destruction of the physical body can be far more permanent.

Flakka: Symptoms of Abuse 

Another serious and potentially life long lingering symptoms of flakka ingestion are the effect on one’s kidneys. Flakka can cause muscles to break down, as a result of hyperthermia, taking a toll on the kidneys causing life-altering side effects. Most experts agree that some survivors of flakka overdoses may, unfortunately, be on dialysis for the remainder of their lives.

Short Term Symptoms of Flakka or Bath Salts Use and/or Abuse:

When someone ingests flakka it results in a flood of dopamine within the brain just like other stimulants. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates the brain’s pleasure centers. Bath salts and other synthetic narcotics like flakka hinders the uptake of dopamine by the brain cells and produces an intense feeling of euphoria.

Flakka: It Can Kill You

Since its introduction onto the drug scene in 2012, flakka has become an infamous street drug for its psychostimulant effects similar to the common drug, bath salts which is also called “zombie” drug because of the effects on humans mimicking a walking dead style effect. 

In under a year in 2015, Florida had reported over 80 deaths attributed to flakka use and abuse and that number is on the rise. In the same year in Broward County, Florida it was reported over 2,000 ER visits which flakka was involved being used or abused and again, the numbers have increased sharply as flakka gains popularity with abusers and addicts due to its low cost and easy availability on the street. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), death caused by drug overdoses, including synthetic drugs like flakka, has been on a steady rise each year since 1999. In 1999, NCHS reported 16,849 overdoses resulting in death and in 2017, they reported a huge increase of leading to 70,237 overdose deaths from drug abuse including drugs like flakka.

NCHS also reported that synthetic narcotics including fentanyl and flakka, have had a drastic rise in overdose deaths. In 2013 it was reported under 5,000 deaths resulting from drug overdose but drastically rose to 28,466 deaths in 2017. These numbers prove that the current war on drugs is not working and addiction treatment is needed in order to start reducing these painfully high numbers.  

Flakka: Will You Withdrawal Or Need Medical Assisted Detox?

Whether or not you will have withdrawal symptoms or if you need medical detox from flakka consumption, depends on the length of use or abuse of the substance on the individual. People react differently to different types of drugs and substances, and with the increase in popularity to prescription medication, one never knows how the body will react with other medications or substances, even things as simple as a vitamin.

Since flakka is so widely used alongside other dangerous drugs and substances, flakka use doesn’t have to be the drug of choice to warrant a short inpatient stay or even an outpatient medical detox program. Medical detox programs exist to assist people who find themselves physically addicted to all sorts of drugs, including flakka, and help to make the process of withdrawal comfortably and with less pain. The State of Florida houses more detox and addiction treatment centers than any other “party” state within the United States.

Flakka Detox Programs: Will Your Health Insurance Pay for Detox?

The answer is typically, yes! However, most insurance companies require policyholders to choose from an approved medical provider list, and usually, there will be some costs associated with these types of addiction treatment programs including flakka detox, like co-pays or cost-share insurance programs. Finding out what kind of insurance policy you have or what exactly is covered is important. Be sure to contact your insurance agent to determine what treatment options work best with your budget. 

In addition, flakka detox programs have medical professionals on staff who are highly trained to assist you while dealing with your insurance company, and they can answer any questions you might have.

Coastal Detox: Helping You Detox From Flakka And Other Substances

If you need medical detox from the use of flakka or other substances, you can contact Coastal Detox – located in beautiful Stuart, Florida. Their addiction treatment programs consist of professionals that are eager to help you detox safely and comfortably from any and ALL substances including flakka. If further addiction treatment is necessary, Coastal Detox will help you find the right type of addiction treatment program you need in order to give sobriety and improved mental health a real fighting chance. 

Sometimes people avoid seeking a medical detox or addiction treatment because they fear it is outside their budget. Thankfully, Coastal Detox provides professionals who assist you with each and every process of flakka detox and addiction treatment including helping you get approval from your insurance company for their detox program(s). 

Seeking help from flakka abuse or addiction can be hard and scary, but you can’t be afraid to ask for help! It’s painful enough to deal with addiction, you don’t have to deal with the pain of detox or have to withdrawal alone. For more information on how Coastal Detox can help you detox from flakka and other substances, please call (877) 406-6623 today.



Kratom is a relatively new and popular drug that has stirred up quite the controversy amongst lawmakers in Florida and other US states due to its potential for physical dependence (addiction). This “healthy and alternative” drug has many reported cases of overdose, which, unfortunately, many have been fatal. Unfortunately, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) does not list kratom as a controlled substance. However, it has been reported that the DEA is seeking to classify it as a Schedule I controlled substance, making it possibly illegal in the very near future.

States that currently list kratom as illegal to use are:

Although there are a great many other states that have not outlawed the distribution or use of kratom, it doesn’t make it safe for even recreational use. Like all drugs, kratom has positive and negative effects on the user and because it is not an approved drug by the FDA, it’s potential for dangerous side effects due to improper testing, remains high and is a real cause for concern for anyone who uses it. 

Kratom: What Is It?

Kratom is a Polynesian natural drug that comes from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa. It is a tree that grows in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and numerous other parts of Southeast Asia. The leaves are a potent part of this tropical plant and can be consumed by either chewing, smoking or using the leaves to brew into tea. Kratom leaves can also be crushed into a powder and put into a pill form for ingestion. 

Kratom: What Is It Used For?

Kratom has polar opposite effects depending on the amount one takes of the substance. In smaller dosage amounts, kratom acts as a stimulant, producing a “high” that is expressed as energetic euphoria, increased alertness, hyperactivity, and talkativeness. In contrast, when you take this substance in higher doses, the drug acts as a sedative and has strong painkilling properties similar to the effects of an opiate with morphine-like effects. 

Kratom usually takes effect between 5 and 10 minutes after consumption. The effects of kratom have been reported as lasting between 2 and 5 hours. Again, due to the lack of proper medical testing, It’s not known exactly what level of kratom consumption it takes to become toxic in people, but as with most other pain relief medications, there is always a risk of a possible overdose no matter the dose or frequency of use. 

Kratom: Using It In Florida

Kratom is legal to possess in Florida and available at local head shops, vape shops, and even in cocktails and juice bars. These bars are popping up in numbers in many south Florida cities like West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, and South Beach, Miami – Florida, just to name a few. The increase in kratom popularity in Florida makes the time now to increase education and awareness of the use of this legal and “natural” drug to ensure the safety of all Floridians. 

Head shops and vape shops in Florida sell kratom in several different forms, however, the most popular is the powder and pill form. Although these shops claim the safety of this substance, there is a higher potential for risk due to the fact that head shops don’t turn over a lot of kratom inventory; which leaves what is on the shelves often old and possibly a decrease in potency which could lead to an overdose by taking too much attempting to achieve the “high” according to the recommended dosage. 

Cocktail bars and juice bars in Florida sell kratom in several different forms as well. Usually, it is sold as a tea, juice or even mixed with an alcoholic beverage but other options are available depending on the type of bar. These bars also will sell kratom in powder form which allows the user to adjust their dosage and making it an even greater potential health risk. When a substance as strong as kratom is not properly regulated, physical dependance becomes a real risk and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Kratom: What Are The Possible Side Effects?

Since kratom is not an approved FDA drug, there has been little testing done on the effects of its use. We do know that kratom has a number of reported negative side effects. 

Kratom possible side effects include (but are not limited to):

Although these negative symptoms aren’t always reported with recreational kratom use, some users will find the effects more unpleasant than others and will want to “come down” from their “high”. 

Ways to help you “come down” from kratom are:

As with any drug or substance, if you start to experience unpleasant and severe side effects while using kratom, contact your local authority and seek immediate medical attention.

Kratom: It Can Kill You

In 2018, the FDA reported 44 deaths across the United States associated with the use of kratom. So far in 2019, new research was provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and found that within an 18 month period, 91 people within the United States had lost their lives to fatal overdoses where kratom was a contributing factor.

The report further goes on to reveal that besides the 91 deaths in which kratom was at least a contributing factor, 61 other victims of a fatal drug overdose were found to have kratom in their systems according to the CDC. 

Although kratom was only involved in less than 1% of the more than 27,000 reported fatal overdoses, the increase in victim fatalities since 2018, shows the popularity of this drug in Florida and the potential health risk this substance presents on our citizens.

However, The American Kratom Association disagrees with the opinion that kratom is a potentially deadly substance. The association says that a number of the cases included in the FDA’s list of 44 kratom associated deaths in 2018, there were other factors that were involved in those fatalities and called into question the CDC and its reports findings. Regardless of the opposing opinions, kratom is a drug and should be regulated and used with care.

Kratom: Will You Withdrawal Or Need Detox?

Whether or not you will have withdrawal symptoms or if you need medical detox from kratom consumption, depends on the length of use or abuse of the substance on the individual. People react differently to different types of drugs and substances, and with the increase in popularity to prescription medication, one never knows how the body will react with other medications or substances, even things as simple as a vitamin.

Although kratom only accounted for just under 1% of fatal overdoses deaths in the report done by the CDC on the 18-month study, is that almost 80% of people who died with kratom in their system, there was a medical history of substance misuse or abuse. For instance, 65% of people who died of overdoses where kratom was found in their systems, had also taken opioid fentanyl, whereas heroin was involved in 33% of these deadly cases.according to the CDC.

Since kratom is so widely used alongside other dangerous drugs and substances, kratom doesn’t have to be the drug of choice to warrant a short inpatient stay or even an outpatient medical detox program. Medical detox programs exist to assist people who find themselves physically addicted to drugs and help to make the process of withdrawal comfortably and with less pain. The State of Florida houses more detox and addiction treatment centers than any other “party” state within the United States. 

Coastal Detox: Helping You Detox From Kratom And Other Substances

If you need medical detox from the use of kratom or other substances, contact Coastal Detox – located in beautiful Stuart, Florida. Their addiction treatment programs consist of professionals that are eager to help you detox safely and comfortably from any and ALL substances. If further addiction treatment is necessary, Coastal Detox will help you find the right type of treatment program you need in order to give sobriety and improved mental health a real fighting chance. 

Sometimes people avoid seeking a medical detox or addiction treatment because they fear they can’t afford it. Thankfully, Coastal Detox provides professionals who assist you with each and every process of detox and addiction treatment including helping you get approval from your insurance company for the detox program(s). 

Seeking help from addiction can be hard and scary, but you can’t be afraid to ask for help! It’s painful enough to deal with addiction, you don’t have to deal with the pain of detox or have to withdrawal alone. For more information on how Coastal Detox can help you detox from kratom and other substances, please call (877) 406-6623 today.





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Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

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    Travis B.
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

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    Brandon B.
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

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    Brenda A.
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.

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