The Rise of Fentanyl Addiction in the US and How To Get Help

Fentanyl is a type of opioid. It can be prescribed legally to help after surgery or in cases of chronic pain, but it can also be obtained illegally. The illegal consumption of fentanyl in the US contributes to the opioid addiction crisis and has affected thousands of Americans and their families. In the US, we are currently witnessing an opioid epidemic where overdose deaths are increasing at a startling rate. According to the CDC, the number of drug overdose deaths increased by 5% from 2018 to 2019 and has quadrupled since 1999. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that in 2019, nearly 50,000 people died from opioid overdoses. Many of these addictions stemmed from patients getting prescribed a legal painkiller from their doctor suddenly to find themselves with a full blown addiction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a further rise in overdose deaths. The CDC states that in the 12 month period ending in May 2021, there were 81,000 drug overdose deaths, many of which were from opioids. Between the disruption of daily life, job losses, and other economic hardships, some people turned to drug use during the pandemic to cope. While all these numbers and stats can seem scary, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Those suffering from Fentanyl addiction can take a step toward healing today. By entering a rehabilitation program, drug abusers can receive the support, counseling, and coping strategies they need to become sober.

What is Fentanyl?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines fentanyl as “a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent.” The drug comes in a prescription form that can be prescribed by doctors after surgery or for chronic pain issues. The legal form is administered by a patch, shot, or as lozenges. The illegal form of the drug is sold as a powder, on blotter paper, in pill form, or in an eyedropper or nasal spray form. Sometimes fentanyl is actually laced into other illegal drugs, making them even more dangerous. Like other opioids, fentanyl binds to receptors in the brain to block pain. Many fentanyl addiction cases start with people becoming addicted to their legal prescription. They begin to build up a tolerance to their dosage and seek more. As a result, patients legally taking fentanyl should work closely with their doctor to manage doses and check in about symptoms. This drug is highly potent, and people can become easily addicted to it. Trying to get off fentanyl can be difficult due to the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, like muscle pain and vomiting. Fentanyl is incredibly potent, which makes it deadly. In fact, according to drugs.com, just 2 milligrams of the drug can cause death in most people.

Signs of Addiction

If you suspect a loved one is suffering from addiction to fentanyl, there are some signs and symptoms to look out for. A big indicator is that your loved one was previously prescribed some type of painkiller after a procedure or for a chronic health issue. Often these addictions start after a bout of taking painkillers. A tolerance builds up, and patients seek more of the drug, often in the illegal form. Here are some fentanyl abuse side effects to look out for:

  • Confusion

  • Sleepiness

  • Weakness

  • Slowed respiration

  • Nausea

  • Sweating

  • Slowed heart rate

  • Unconsciousness

  • Flushed skin

These are just a few of the many side effects of fentanyl. If you notice any of these symptoms, the best course of action is to call 911 and get your loved one medical help ASAP. Since this drug is so potent, even ingesting a small amount can be deadly. Once your loved one has received the medical care they need, it’s time to help them get into a rehabilitation center.

Getting Help for Fentanyl Addiction

Recovering from an addiction is not an easy process, but it can be done. With the right type of care and support, patients can get clean and sober from fentanyl addictions. At The Bridges of San Diego, we offer various treatment options so that patients can find the path that works best for their unique needs. We have a partial hospitalization program, as well as an intensive outpatient program. With each program, patients get the chance to work with our highly experienced therapists in solo and group counseling sessions. Through therapy, we help you create a toolkit of strategies to get and stay clean from fentanyl. Since our programs are outpatient, you have the chance to be in rehab without the disruption to your career or family life. The Bridges of San Diego is a safe place for you to receive help and recover at your own pace.

Fentanyl is one of the scariest drugs to take illegally as it is highly potent. A tiny amount of fentanyl can lead to death. As a result, if you or a loved one is struggling with a fentanyl addiction, there is no time to waste. It is critical to get help as soon as possible. Through diligent rehabilitation, patients can find themselves coming out on the other side of their fentanyl addiction. Take a step toward recovery today by contacting The Bridges of San Diego. We look forward to sharing with you our different treatment options and finding a plan specific to you to help you start on the road to recovery. For more information, visit our website and give us a call today.