Fentanyl Abuse & Deaths in 2021

Fentanyl Abuse Continues to Be a Major Health Issue

The World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 outbreak was a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and that health crisis began to worsen the impact of the opioid epidemic that began in 1999. From 1999 to 2019, 500,000 people died of overdoses of some kind of opioid drug. This included prescription medications as well as illicit opioids that are sold on the street.

The opioid epidemic existed in three different waves of opioid overdose deaths. The first wave began in 1999 and consisted of prescription opioid deaths because of the mass increase of prescriptions written for these medications. The second wave began in 2010 when more people began to overdose on heroin, and the third wave began in 2013 with the significant increase in deaths due to synthetic opioids. Fentanyl was the main illicit substance in this group.

Understanding Fentanyl Overdoses

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly added to the destruction that fentanyl was already causing in the United States. Fentanyl abuse and addiction is the main reason that so many people have died of opioid overdoses, and experts are expecting these deaths to continue to increase.

Deaths may increase for the following two reasons:

• Many drug manufacturers are lacing their drugs with fentanyl for the purpose of causing their products to be especially potent. Authorities believe that drug cartels are purposely adding fentanyl to other drugs with the intent of addicting more people to fentanyl.

• The pandemic is also directly contributing to the opioid epidemic. The topic of many news stations is the pandemic and what is happening in the country and the rest of the world, and this is increasing the panic that Americans are experiencing. To deal with this panic, some people increase the number or dose of illicit substances that they are currently taking.

Illicit Use of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a drug similar to morphine, but it is a substance that is between 50 and 100 times more powerful than morphine. It is a Schedule II drug, meaning the Drug Enforcement Agency classified it as medication that has limited uses in the medical environment. Generally, physicians prescribe fentanyl for people with chronic or severe pain. Schedule II drugs are also classified as such because there is a high likelihood that the substance will be abused.

Overdose Deaths Due to the Pandemic

In 2019, fentanyl deaths were increasing, but this number continued to rise with the pandemic. From May 2019 to May 2020, the U.S. recorded more than 81,000 overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this was the highest number of deaths due to overdose to ever be recorded in a 12-month period. This statistic suggests that overdose deaths were increasing during the pandemic.

Why the Increase in Overdose Deaths During the Pandemic?

At the beginning of the pandemic, people could no longer go on with life as they had been, and this was particularly damaging to those with substance use disorders. For example, people were discouraged from gathering in groups, and many functions were forced to close down or cancel their meetings. This was devastating to those in recovery who meet with each other in order to maintain their sobriety.

If individuals needed to obtain treatment for their substance use disorder in residential treatment, they were discouraged from doing so. It became extremely difficult for those addicted to fentanyl and other substances to begin treatment or continue their treatment.

Overdose Deaths Due to Fentanyl

The main reason for the recent increase in synthetic opioid overdose deaths has been fentanyl. Overdose deaths increased by 38.4% from May 2019 to May 2020, and 10 U.S. states reported increases in synthetic opioid deaths of 98%.

Experts also determined that deaths due to cocaine overdoses were increasing at this time. They discovered that cocaine overdoses increased by 26.5%, and they believe that the cocaine was laced with fentanyl.

The Consequences of Fentanyl Overdose

Whatever the reason for the increase in opioid-related overdoses, it is clear that more needs to be done to address this issue. A fentanyl user endangers their own health, and we cannot forget that there are also many people surrounding a person with an opioid use disorder.

When someone with an opioid use disorder dies due to a fentanyl overdose, his or her friends, family members, co-workers, and community members are all affected by it. In cases where the deceased individual was a family’s main breadwinner, the entire family suffers emotional stress, as well as financial devastation.

If the victim was a student or a co-worker, the person’s school or place of work will also be affected by the person’s death. The lack of their friend’s presence may lower everyone’s will to continue with their jobs or their schoolwork. We must also remember how both crises are affecting hospitals. Because of COVID-19, many people are being admitted to hospitals, but opioid overdoses are increasing the number of patients as well. As a result, the hospitals aren’t operating at maximum efficiency to treat individuals suffering harm from opioid use.

Help for Those With Opioid Addictions

It is up to all of us to help end this opioid epidemic. Your loved one may be struggling with addiction right now. The best thing that you can do for your loved one is introduce him or her to a rehab facility like BlueCrest Recovery Center. This recovery center treats people with substance use disorders, and one of the drugs that we focus on helping people quit using is fentanyl.

Evidence-Based Treatment

BlueCrest uses evidence-based modalities and the 12-step program to treat clients. This means that we take care of your loved one’s mind, body, and spirit in the treatment of their substance use disorder. They will begin with a 12-step program at the recovery center, but this will only be the beginning. At BlueCrest, we believe that your loved one cannot maintain full sobriety unless they are involved in a 12-step program. It will be something that they can continue to take part in for the rest of their life.

The Partial Care Program

The partial care program is the most extensive program that we have at BlueCrest Recovery Center. Your loved one would be required to arrive at the recovery center every weekday, and they will need to agree to spend three hours there each day. We are prepared to treat your loved one for their substance use disorder, but many people are diagnosed with a mental health disorder as well. If this is the case for your loved one, we can treat both disorders at the same time.

During their time in the partial care program, your loved one may receive group therapy, individual therapy, and 12-step education. In addition to that, they can take part in yoga and meditation. You and the rest of your family will be welcome to join your loved one in family sessions at the center. We even have a weekly family night.

The Intensive Outpatient Program

One other option for your loved one is our intensive outpatient program. If your loved one is newly addicted or the addiction is not that severe, this program may be for them. In this program, your loved one can continue to remain at home while they receive treatment for substance use disorder. They may need to commit to showing up at the treatment center three times a week. During those times, they must obtain treatment for three hours each day. The amount of time will depend on the type of program they will be recommended to attend. Sessions are highly flexible, and your loved one will be able to decide to attend for three hours in the morning or in the evening. If they are working, they will not have to interrupt their job to get the help that they need.

Spiritual Treatment

At BlueCrest, we believe that we must treat substance use disorders spiritually. If we do not do this, any success that we have in overcoming a substance addiction will not last. This is what is missing from many medical and psychological programs, so we aim to make sure that your loved one receives it here. The feelings of emptiness that your loved one may experience can be a large part of the reason that your loved one engages in substance use. We will help your loved one find his or her purpose and spiritual nourishment.

Holistic Treatment

Substance use negatively affects the body, so your loved one may be in a very unhealthy condition at the moment. At BlueCrest, we address this side of the issue as well. Our on-site medical staff members are here to ensure that your loved one receives treatment for any physical maladies they may have. In addition, we encourage healing with holistic practices that include mindfulness, exercise, and ways in which to deal with anxiety and stress.

If your loved one has been having a particularly hard time, treatment at BlueCrest Recovery Center can help them get their life back on track. Contact us today for assistance.

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