For many years, Heroin was considered the most feared drug on our planet. The implications form using heroin just one time were dire. Not only is heroin supremely addictive, but it often results in death for the individual. With all the focus on preventing the spread of heroin use, we were simply not prepared for something even worse; even deadlier: Fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid prescribed only to treat patients with severe pain. It is lab-created to mimic the structure of morphine but, according to the NIDA, is 50-100 times more potent (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl). Fentanyl is typically prescribed to people who have undergone serious surgery or who are managing severe pain from things like cancer or severe disease, or to treat end of life pain.
Science Daily exclaims, “Overdose deaths involving Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have increased from about 3,000 in 2013 to more than 30,000 in 2018. These deaths have remained concentrated in Appalachia, the mid-Atlantic and New England.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190829081407.htm
Much of the news concentrates on the overprescribing of pain medication as the reason for the opiate epidemic. However, Fentanyl is not one of these medications that’s easy to “doctor shop” for. That’s why the majority of the Fentanyl that is currently being abused is made from illegal labs overseas. So, while our doctors are not to blame for saturating the market with Fentanyl, the desire of buyers to “get their fix” has catapulted the illicit drug market into the stratosphere.
The Overdose Epidemic in Overdrive
NIDA shares that “Synthetic opioids, including Fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. In 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl compared to 14.3 percent in 2010.”
To put that into perspective, in 2000, there were about 5,000 overdose deaths related to heroin. Fast forward to 2018 and over 31,000 overdose deaths were attributed to “other synthetic narcotics” – mostly Fentanyl. (https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates). That’s an increase of over 600%.
Fentanyl: Fueling the Illicit Drug Trade
While Fentanyl that is created by legitimate labs is highly dangerous on its own, most of the Fentanyl that is sold “on the streets” is created in overseas labs specifically in the business of selling the drug on the illegal market for profit. Because of this, there is little to no regulation. Producers have been known to lace fentanyl with other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDA to increase their profits. This means that there is absolutely no way to know exactly what you’re taking.
Many users fall victim to the unknowns of using Fentanyl. They may think that their tolerance can take a specific dosage, but are unaware of the other drugs that are laced within each dose. Many users therefore are victimized twice: first as they are introduced to opioids (either through their doctor or friends) and then a second time via drugs that are so potent it only takes one hit to overdose.
Getting Help for Fentanyl Addiction
At Lumiere Healing Centers of Ohio, we know the effects of this epidemic first-hand. As mentioned above, our area of the country has been hit particularly hard by the upwelling of illegal drug use in the United States. There are many reasons that people turn to drugs and alcohol to find relief, and many users are at the mercy of the street dealers themselves, who seek to profit by selling the most potent form of the drug.
Products such as Naloxone, sold under the names Evzio and Narcan, have been instrumental in counteracting the effects of a Fentanyl overdose. However, they do little in the way of “healing” the individual. That’s why proper treatment and therapy is necessary in order to overcome an opiate addiction. The reality is that Fentanyl use is a death sentence. And without recovery, there is only one outcome.
If you want to know more about our opiate detox or opiate rehab track, we invite you to call us at (513) 909-2225. You may also visit out other website resources: