Washington State is currently experiencing a public health crisis. Opioid addiction is causing thousands of deaths per year, in Washington and across America, and one of the reasons for this is the emergence of the drug fentanyl.
While you may hear it every day on the news, perhaps you do not know the specifics of fentanyl and how it affects Washington residents. Here is a comprehensive what-to-know guide so that you can educate yourself, your family, and your friends about this deadly epidemic.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is actually a prescribed medicine used in palliative care and for pain management, often following surgery or during cancer treatment. Doctors prescribe it sparingly because fentanyl is 50-100 times more powerful than morphine
. Just two milligrams can kill a person.
Due to its high fat-solubility, fentanyl reacts quickly in the brain and can produce an extremely intense high, often experienced as a type of euphoria
. It is that feeling that makes fentanyl so addictive when added to other drugs; it intensifies the high and can easily create a ‘repeat customer’.
How is Fentanyl Spreading?
Most of the fentanyl causing the current crisis is being produced in China and imported to U.S soil, either through the mail system or via Mexican drug cartels, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
A kilogram of fentanyl only costs $3,000 to $5,000 to produce in China and can generate over $1.5 million through illicit U.S sales.
Drug makers and dealers are also eager to lace their products with fentanyl due to its potency. The initial high it produces is so intense that it can create loyal customers who will return again and again to seek that feeling. Often, those people buying heroin, opioids, or other drugs are not aware that they contain fentanyl, resulting in a sharp increase in accidental overdoses.
Even if an addict does become aware that fentanyl is present in a drug and even if he or she knows how deadly it is, sometimes that does not matter. A severe addict will intentionally seek out fentanyl, hoping to recapture the initial feeling it produced.
The most recent statistics concerning the prevalence of fentanyl in Washington and across the United States are shocking, to say the least.
- According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 91 Americans overdose on fentanyl every day.
- Between 2013 and 2015 the number of annual deaths in America jumped from 3,105 to 9,580.
- A study by the Washington Department of Health shows an 86 percent increase in fentanyl related deaths from 2015 to 2016.
- 84 percent of those deaths were accidental, meaning that the victim was not seeking fentanyl specifically.
Both studies caution that these numbers are likely underestimates, due to medical examiners not testing for fentanyl or death certificates failing to list specific drugs from toxicology reports.
What Can You Do?
If you, a loved one, or a family member in Washington are struggling with addiction, whether to fentanyl or a drug that could contain fentanyl, there is help.
In cases of fentanyl overdose, a drug called naloxone
can save lives. If you think you may be in a position to save a life, whether it is your own or somebody else’s, it is recommended that you find a naloxone kit and keep it nearby.
Professional treatment is one of the most effective ways to beat an addiction to fentanyl or other opioids. Recovery Village Ridgefield
invites Washington residents struggling with addiction to seek help at our beautiful facility, nestled in the majestic Pacific Northwest forest. Our treatment programs are developed according to your individual needs and offer a holistic and comprehensive approach to overcoming your addiction. Click to learn more about admissions
and start your journey to wellness with Recovery Village.