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Individuals who are currently struggling with opioid use disorder should strongly consider addiction treatment, especially for people using heroin or illicit prescription opioids. If opiate dependence is your reality, then you are probably aware of fentanyl’s growing pervasiveness. The unbelievably potent analgesic carries a severe risk of overdose; what’s more, those willingly or unintentionally exposed to the narcotic who overdose will not necessarily respond to naloxone. Synthetic opioids are so potent in some cases, that first responder must administer several doses of naloxone—sold under the brand name Narcan— to resuscitate overdose victims. Even still, there are no guarantees!

The practice of mixing synthetic opioids with heroin, or disguising fentanyl to look like OxyContin, is more common than ever. Most fentanyl-related overdoses impact people who had no idea that the drugs they were using contained the deadly substance. Such are the risks that today’s opioid addicts must contend with as they attempt to maintain their addiction. Some opiate users even go out of their way to acquire fentanyl, the drug’s euphoria-inducing effects are (apparently) worth the risk for such people.

It’s worth noting that any opioid, from Vicodin to fentanyl, can bring about an overdose. A little bit too much heroin or one too many pills can have irrevocable consequences. While naloxone is much easier to acquire than in years past, even users equipped with the miracle drug may not have enough on hand to reverse a synthetic opioid overdose. The point is that there is no safe amount of illicit synthetic opioids; users cannot expect the same effects from one dose to the next.

Nearly Half of Overdose Deaths Involve Fentanyl

opioid use disorder

The Journal of the American Medical Association found that nearly 46 percent of the 42,249 opioid-related overdose deaths in America in 2016 involved fentanyl. In contrast, 37 percent of overdoses involved heroin on its own. In order to see the increasing prevalence of synthetic opioids, consider that fentanyl was a contributing factor in only 14 percent of opioid overdose deaths six years ago.

Fentanyl can be as much as 100 times more potent than morphine, and 50 to 80 times stronger than heroin that most people acquire. The drug causes severe respiratory depression which is why it is typically found only in medical settings, primarily used for surgery or palliative care. While it indeed provides users with the euphoria they desire and keeps their withdrawal symptoms at bay, it is not worth the harm that can accompany use.

Exposure to synthetic opioids is going to be more and more common in the years to come; anyone who desires to lead a life free from opiates can avoid fentanyl by seeking addiction treatment services. With help, opioid use disorder recovery is possible!


Opioid Addiction Treatment

With the help of our outstanding staff, you too can recover from opioid use disorder. At Hope by the Sea, we provide personalized treatment for our clients which gives them the best chance of achieving successful outcomes in the form of lasting recovery. Please contact our team today to learn more about the evidence-based modalities we offer.