The abuse of prescription medications that contain opioids has grown into a pervasive problem that is impacting millions of people nationwide. As is also the case with prevalent diseases such as cancer, almost everyone in the country knows someone who is currently struggling with, has struggled with, or has lost his or her life to the disease of addiction. In recent years, rising rates of opioid abuse, including the abuse of the powerful opioid fentanyl, has dramatically increased the number of people who are struggling with opioid addiction. Once a person has become addicted to a prescription opioid, he or she will experience powerful urges that can prompt him or her to abuse whatever opioid he or she can acquire, including fentanyl. This may be at least partially to blame for the problem that Sacramento is facing today.
Rising Fentanyl Overdose Rates Hit Sacramento & California
In March 2016, Sacramento County experienced 28 fentanyl overdoses in just one week. Six of those overdoses were fatal. Those who suffered from the overdoses were said to have ingested what they believed was Norco, which is a prescription medication a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. However, the Norco that these individuals purchased was laced with fentanyl.
Fentanyl is an opioid-based prescription painkiller that is much more potent than morphine. When appropriately prescribed and supervised by a professional, fentanyl can be highly effective in treating severe physical pain. However, when abused, fentanyl can cause symptoms ranging from itching, shaking, and loss of appetite to more severe symptoms such as suppression of breathing, hallucinations, depression, and even death.
The one-time abuse of any powerful opioid can be life-ending. Thankfully, many people who abuse opioids survive their experience and get help. However, the outbreak of overdoses in the Sacramento proves that the behavior can be deadly, especially when a person acquires a drug illicitly and thus can never be sure if it has been doctored with additional substances.
The good news is there are options for those in Sacramento and other areas who are suffering from opioid abuse and addiction. One of the most popular sources of emergency help is Narcan, a medication that is able to be administered to those suffering an overdose so that the effects of the opioid can be reversed. However, while this medication has saved many lives, it does not address the addiction or other underlying issues that can push a person to continually abuse fentanyl or other opioids.
The Importance of Addiction Treatment
While Sacramento was in the spotlight for this rash of overdoses, it does not mean that this type of problem is not also occurring throughout the country. More and more individuals are falling prey to opioid addiction, which forces them to continue to abuse these drugs to avoid withdrawal symptoms, or to continue to numb themselves from physical and/or emotional pain. As a result, more overdoses and more deaths are occurring.
Despite the odds that might be stacked against them, those who are suffering from an addiction to prescription opioids, alcohol, or other substances can receive appropriate, effective treatment that can get them to turn their lives around for good. Treatment centers nationwide provide a number of services, including outpatient treatment and residential treatment, with programming that includes individual, group, and family therapy. Unfortunately, most addicted individuals are not getting the help that they need.
As a friend or family member of someone who might be experiencing an addiction to prescription opioids such as fentanyl, you can do a number of things to ensure that your loved one seeks treatment before it is too late. This can include researching treatment centers that can offer professional help, discussing your concerns with your loved one, and getting informed on the many signs, symptoms, and effects that can impact your loved one during his or her active addiction. Your continued efforts and support can help him or her get the care that is needed before he or she makes a fatal mistake.
At Bayside Marin, we meet numerous individuals who need help. We provide quality care that allows each one of our patients to address the issues surrounding their addiction and make a solid recovery from constant use and abuse. If you or someone you love is grappling with an addiction, please reach out to us right now, before it is too late.