Rising Fentanyl Deaths in California
Opioids have been a crisis nationally for over a decade now. Opioid addiction and overdose rates first began to climb significantly about 20 years ago. Since then, an intense amount of pressure has been put on leaders to do something about it. Despite this, opioid overdose deaths have continued to increase in California. Certain substances like Fentanyl can easily be overdose on and have popped up more and more in drug arrests over recent years.
The drug addiction problem in California has resulted in the passing of many loved ones. Astonishingly, about 13 people per day die from drug overdoses in California. In particular, prescription drugs, heroin, and fentanyl are the biggest culprits of this sad problem.
Fentanyl’s History in California
Opioids have been a common problem nationwide for close to two decades, but the specific phenomenon of Fentanyl is much more recent. For example, between 2017 and 2018, Fentanyl overdose deaths in California rose by 72%. Meanwhile, drug overdose deaths attributed to other opioids during that same time frame only showed a 5% increase. After the high profile overdoses of Major League Baseball pitcher Tyler Skaggs and musician Mac Miller from Fentanyl, more public attention was put on the issue. In response to the opioid crisis, more funding has been put into government agencies that seek to study and treat Fentanyl and its victims.
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Certain charitable organizations and healthcare providers have come together to promote practical, evidence-based methods for getting people off of opioids safely. By advocating for things like safe drug usage and addiction management, addicts are being helped towards sobriety each day. Fentanyl is a drug that is very new to California, as it is in other states. Keeping everyone educated and aware of the effects that these harmful substances have is an important part of fighting back against drug addiction and keeping our neighbors alive.
The Impacts of Fentanyl
Fentanyl can impact someone’s life in more ways than just overdose. Drug addiction is something that can consumer your entire life and affect the well-being of those around you. A strong dependency to a foreign substance can put pressure on people financially, physically, and emotionally.
WHAT IS FENTANYL
One reason that the drug presents such high risks of overdose is that Fentanyl is commonly mixed inside bags of heroin, or even made into pills that resemble oxycodone. These lookalike powders and pills can be made for as little as $1. Meanwhile, those counterfeit drugs can still be sold for $20 or more. As a result, drug dealers looking to turn a bigger profit have put the lives of their fellow neighbors in danger.
What further complicates this drug problem is the fact that Fentanyl is a particularly addictive one. Fentanyl is derived the opium-based substances, just like heroin and morphine. Occasionally, Fentanyl is even prescribed legally as an extremely strong pain medication. Fentanyl, being around 80 times more potent than morphine or heroin, can easily lead to overdose deaths, which has become apparent in California and around the US. This is not a message of fear, but one of hope that you or a loved one will find one of the many addiction treatment options in the area.
SPOTTING A FENTANYL OVERDOSE
If you are around someone who may have experienced a Fentanyl overdose, then knowing what to do is imperative in order to save the person’s life. Of course, an emergency responder should be called right away if there is a suspected overdose, but there are some other steps that could be lifesaving. Those who have overdosed on Fentanyl will show the following symptoms:
- Decreased level of consciousness
- Slowed or labored breathing
- Lack of response to external stimulation like sounds and images
- Small, constricted pupils
- Full respiratory activity could stop after 5 minutes
If you happen to have valuable medicine like Naloxone nearby, administer it as needed until full respiratory control comes back to the person. Furthermore, any type of assisted breathing could help keep the user alive until medical help arrives. A local poison control center can also help with managing a suspected fentanyl overdose.
Get Help Despite Fentanyl
With a growing number of people addicted to opiates up and down the state of California, raising awareness of treatment programs has never been so essential. Specifically, Fentanyl has been the biggest cause of overdose deaths in California. The strength and addictive nature of the drug has led to its skyrocketing use in the last few years. Californians purchasing drugs off the street need to know what Fentanyl is and how to treat an overdose. The state’s response has been rapid and thorough, but more work needs to be done.
Due to widely reported cases of overdoses, Fentanyl is in more of the public eye than it used to be. Policy changes and increased resources for treatment programs has helped bolster the response to opioid addiction. Unfortunately, some people in our communities aren’t aware of their treatment options, but those around them can help.
The path to an addiction free life starts with talking to someone about the help you need to get. Through a rehab program, you can give yourself the tools to stay sober for good. To start, call us at 402-268-9960 and find out what ways you can remove addiction from your life.
The California Department of Public Health is trying to form a collective response to the opioid epidemic. Policy change and awareness activism has led to the creation of drug prevention programs and better funding for facilities who treat drug addicts. The harmful nature of Fentanyl means that there are greater consequences when someone we know may be addicted. Do what you care for those you know and get them in contact with professionals who can help.
This large-scale onset of Fentanyl and other opioids harms the most vulnerable in our neighborhoods. Other issues like homelessness and mental health have only worsened due to what Fentanyl has done. However, in the end, there are ways of escaping drug addiction safely, so consider your options and reach out to get help.