Josh Chandler | May 26, 2022

May 10 Is Declared Fentanyl Awareness Day

What Is Fentanyl?

In coordination with the DEA and many public health, law enforcement agencies, and nonprofit organizations across the United States, May 10, 2022, was declared the first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day. This was due to the mounting number of deaths involved with Fentanyl overdoses. Fentanyl has become enemy number one on the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of dangerous substances and is committed to raising awareness concerning the dangers of Fentanyl and the need for addiction treatment. Law enforcement agencies at every level, including local police department leaders and city government officials, are all trying to find ways to combat the multi-faceted problem that the introduction of Fentanyl has created. The DEA has created a special display exhibit called “The Faces of Fentanyl,” referring to the lives lost due to Fentanyl poisoning.

Over the past many decades, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and different levels of government have had to address problems with new types of substances being introduced, especially those that cause a significant number of drug overdoses. From heroin to cocaine to prescription synthetic opioids (and heroin again) to designer drugs like bath salts, public and private organizations are often playing catch up and trying to ascertain the best way to control and stop the use and especially deaths involved regarding any substance. Fentanyl is the latest in this long line of abused substances, with the bad twist that it is many times more potent than most other drugs being used and distributed. Drug and alcohol rehab organizations like Muse Treatment are always trying to increase public awareness of new substance and drug combinations and create treatment options that fit clients’ needs. If you’d like more information on Fentanyl and how to avoid some of the pitfalls created by this dangerous substance, please give us a call. We can also help you with drug detox and treatment for any substance use disorders you or one of your loved ones may be fighting.

Fentanyl is a powerful prescription opioid used to treat severe pain in patients that are post surgery and in other specific instances. As with other synthetic opioids, it is highly addictive. For legitimate medical use, it is marketed under the brand names Duragesic, Abstral, Subsys, and Ionsys. Along with being a high risk for addiction and dependence, Fentanyl can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses or combined with other substances, especially alcohol or other illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Anyone prescribed Fentanyl should report any changes in how they react to the drug immediately to their doctor or other medical professionals. This is a good rule of thumb when you’re taking a prescription medication.

Fentanyl, like other prescription synthetic opioids, was developed to manage severe pain. It is considered to be 50 to 100 times more potent than Morphine, a long-used medical-grade opioid. The drug comes in both pill and powder form, which makes it easy to use and adds to the dangers of Fentanyl when abused or even misused accidentally. Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Opium itself is a dangerous and addictive drug that has been used around the world for centuries. Some opioids are made from the plant directly, and others, like Fentanyl, are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure (semi-synthetic or synthetic opioids).

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Why Fentanyl Awareness Day Was Created

Fentanyl Awareness Day was created to increase public awareness regarding the dangers involved with the drug. Mental health and substance use and addiction treatment organizations, along with law enforcement agencies, are making every effort to get the word out to as many people as possible regarding the proper and improper uses of Fentanyl. Fentanyl, due to it being many times more potent, has added a new wrinkle to the existing opioid epidemic in the United States. Fentanyl can be addictive, creating the dangers of a drug overdose, even when prescribed by a doctor. Increasing the dosage being taken even by the person to whom the drug is prescribed is considered abuse. Additionally, Fentanyl, or any other prescription opioid, should never be taken by anyone other than for whom it is prescribed, even for what seems like a legitimate reason. Any unused prescription synthetic opioids, or any medications for that matter, should be disposed of properly and not “passed on” to someone who might need them.

Fentanyl awareness day gives the DEA and other law enforcement agencies, down to a local police department, a platform to help people learn more about the substance. Public awareness can be a crucial component in helping curb fentanyl overdoses and other negative impacts of the drug being available on the legitimate and black markets. The DEA has also turned to social media to spread the word about the drug more widely and has promoted the hashtag #JustKNOW.

The Role of Fentanyl in America’s Overdose Crisis

Fentanyl has had a significant impact on the number of drug overdoses in America due to the various ways it is being used by drug traffickers and abused by people with substance use disorders. Sadly, people addicted to drugs and alcohol are often looking for a new high, and Fentanyl is happy to oblige due to how powerful it is compared to other prescription opioids. Individuals who already abuse opioids have turned to Fentanyl because they have become tolerant of the substance or substances they are already abusing. Drug traffickers have begun to incorporate Fentanyl into how they cut heroin for distribution, making what they sell many times more potent. This scenario explicitly leads to more drug overdoses because people are unaware of how strong a combination of substances they are taking and don’t adjust the amount they use.

Fentanyl is also being purposely combined with a stimulant substance, like cocaine, creating a “speedball” or “goofball.” This again can be very dangerous and cause drug overdoses because the amount of each substance in the combination is unknown. Drug task forces have also discovered counterfeit pills, which are being sold for recreational purposes and to people who cannot go through their doctors for pain management. This is another instance of black market consumers not knowing precisely what they are getting. All of these and other factors are adding to America’s overdose crisis.

Did Fentanyl play a role in the death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins? Learn more here:

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How to Prevent a Fentanyl Overdose

The U.S government is actively taking steps to reduce drug overdoses, including those involving Fentanyl, some of which have come under criticism by portions of the public. Drug addicts in some areas have access to needle exchanges, which helps prevent regular substance abusers from using a drug they are not familiar with via a dirty needle. In some instances, these programs promote drug use. Still, drug rehab and addiction professionals see it as an excellent way to protect those using substances as much as possible.

Fentanyl test products, specifically test strips, are also available for those unsure if the substance they are using has been cut with the drug. This control function to ensure no contamination will reduce drug overdoses. Of course, not purchasing illicit Fentanyl from drug traffickers is a primary way to prevent getting a dose that is not what you are accustomed to taking. Also, reducing the amount of any substance you take can help minimize the chances of a potentially lethal dose, but this can also cause withdrawal symptoms, so it should be done in moderation to avoid binging, which can also lead to drug overdoses.

Drug Rehab at Muse in Los Angeles

At Muse Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, we have a variety of treatment programs that can help people struggling with opioid addiction, including anyone abusing Fentanyl. The Fentanyl crisis exemplifies that drug addiction is not a straightforward scenario in anyone’s life. Substance abuse affects people from all walks of life, and we always customize any of the treatment programs we offer to provide each client with the best possible care. We not only want to help people successfully enter recovery, but we also want to save lives wherever and whenever we can. At Muse Addiction Treatment Center, we are also trying to communicate the dangers of Fentanyl to as many people as possible so that even people who have never abused or plan to abuse drugs know that the substance is out there in several forms.

We are proud to offer inpatient treatment programs, outpatient care plans, sober living homes, drug and alcohol detox, and specialized programs like Partial Hospitalization Plans (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Plans (IOP) to assist as many people as we possibly can. Our staff members are some of the best in the field and are ready to help you or one of your loved ones move forward in life without drugs or alcohol being a negative influence. Call us at (800) 426-1818 today to discuss any of our treatment programs. We’re here for you.

Fentanyl,Fentanyl Addiction,
Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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