The Fentanyl Epidemic – The Powerful Opioid Fueling the Opioid Crisis
At first, the biggest concern in the opioid crisis was opioid prescription medication because of how easy it was to obtain it. Since then, doctors have followed stricter policies for prescribing the pain relief medication. However, this paved the way for heroin abuse as people searched for new places to get their fix. Today, a new drug has taken the center stage: fentanyl. The current fentanyl epidemic is biggest cause behind the daily 115 lives that are lost due to fentanyl overdose.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl has been around since the 1960s, but only recently has it come into the spotlight as drug cartels in Mexico and distributors in Asian countries are finding cheap ways to mass produce this opioid. One of the main reasons why the fentanyl epidemic has become so widespread is due to its strength; estimates put an average dose of fentanyl at 50 times more potent than heroin and as much as 100 times more potent that the well-known morphine.
Since an addict doesn’t care much for their own well-being, and any negative effects of abuse and even the possibility of fentanyl overdose doesn’t hinder abuse, many addicts are seeking out reportedly-dangerous batches of fentanyl to find the strongest, cheapest high they can get. This is one of the reasons why the fentanyl epidemic emerged.
Fentanyl Epidemic Statistics
To help put the extent of the epidemic into perspective, we will discuss some of the statistics surrounding the abuse of fentanyl.
Fentanyl has surpassed heroin in overdose in some New England states, such as in New Hampshire. The city saw 158 fentanyl deaths in 2015 whereas heroin only claimed 32 lives. Fentanyl seizures also increased drastically national-wide from 2012 to 2014: there were over 4,500 fentanyl seizures by the DEA and other law enforcement agencies in 2014 compared to around 80 in 2012. Not only are more people searching for the drug due to tolerance levels and affordability, but cartels are flooding the country with more and more of the substance.
Fentanyl deaths spiked across the country, and alerts were sent out about the substance in March 2015. Many states saw an increase of over 50 percent in the number of deaths linked to the drug, such as Massachusetts which had 336 reported deaths in 2015 from fentanyl alone. In Maine, there was an increase of over 800 percent in the number of deaths from the drug in the span of just two years.
Opioid Addiction Treatment
Fentanyl abuse is one of the most risky substances that a person could abuse. Opioid addicts are often unaware of the exact potency in each of their doses, which makes the risk of overdose very high. To stop such abuse and overcome the constraints of addiction, professional care in a rehab center is one of the only options a person has when dealing with such an addictive substance.
The options available to a person who has an opioid problem include the use of inpatient, outpatient and partial hospitalization programs. Inpatient care is defined as treatment that requires that the addict leave their home and stay at the rehab. Outpatient care doesn’t have this same requirement, but provides much of the same treatment options. Partial hospitalization programs are a mix of both, allowing an individual to stay at the center while going through particularly difficult times in recovery, such as detox, and then continue in an outpatient setting for the rest of the treatment.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.