Reckoning With 100,000 Overdose Deaths and Fentanyl Addiction

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Reckoning With 100,000 Overdose Deaths and Fentanyl Addiction

Overdose Deaths and Fentanyl Addiction Reach 100K

The statistics are staggering when it comes to overdose deaths in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control show that more than 100,000 people died from a drug overdose during the 12-month period that ended in April of 2021.1 That is a more than 28% increase during the previous year’s same period.1 While all drugs are included in that sobering statistic, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have been linked to a majority of the deaths.2 This is why getting professional help for fentanyl addiction and other substance abuse disorders is vital in reversing this disturbing trend.

We’ll take a closer look at the causes behind these overdoses, and why it’s crucial to get professional help before it’s too late. 

Causes Behind the Increase of Overdose Deaths

Experts say one of the causes fueling the increase of overdose deaths is the increasing presence of fentanyl in other types of drugs.2 The drug supply is becoming more contaminated with fentanyl, with a growing unpredictability in what people are actually using. Often, dealers may “cut” the drug with additives that can have adverse effects and result in an overdose. People may think they are taking one drug, only to realize too late that it has been laced with fentanyl or something else.

For others, fentanyl addiction can stem from prescription use. A doctor may prescribe fentanyl to treat chronic severe pain or severe pain after surgery. While it can be used to treat these issues, some people become addicted to it and use it even when they are not in the pain that the drug was prescribed for.

This misuse can also lead to addiction and potentially overdose.

COVID-19’s Impact on Overdose Deaths

The COVID-19 pandemic has also been linked to an increase in opioid abuse. According to the American Medical Association, every state has reported a rise in overdose deaths or other problems during the pandemic.3 Some experts say the isolation, anxiety, and chaos that the pandemic has brought has led many on a troubled path that involves substance abuse.

The pandemic also made it more difficult for some people to seek treatment, leading them to continue using or try to quit on their own and fail. As restrictions in many communities have eased, seeking treatment is becoming easier. However, isolation and difficulty in accessing treatment have still had an impact on many people. 

Depression and other mental health issues can also lead people to use fentanyl and other drugs. Just as the pandemic made help for a substance abuse disorder challenging to find, so was help for mental health issues. This also led some people to turn to fentanyl and other opioids as a coping mechanism.

Fentanyl’s Effects on the Body

The effects fentanyl has on the body make it extremely dangerous and addictive. Fentanyl binds to the body’s opioid receptors that control pain and emotions.4 As people continue to use fentanyl, they develop a higher tolerance and want more to feel the effects. High doses of fentanyl and other opioids can lead to:

  • Shallow or erratic breathing
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Increased risk of Hepatitis B & C
  • Collapsed veins from intravenous use
  • Damaged nasal tissues from snorting
  • Liver, kidney, and heart damage

If someone overdoses on fentanyl, the drug naloxone can block the effects and has saved many lives. But the person overdosing must receive naloxone within a brief window of time for it to work. Unfortunately, many people cannot receive it in time to help to save their life.

What is Being Done to Combat Overdose Deaths?

The government has rolled out a four-part plan that includes cracking down on inappropriate prescribing of opioids and other methods, including using test strips to check street drugs for hidden fentanyl.5 There are also plans to spend more federal dollars on expanding the distribution of naloxone to prevent overdose deaths. Along with these measures, those dealing with a fentanyl addiction can seek treatment to end their substance abuse disorder. This can teach them to live a sober life and not depend on fentanyl or other drugs.

Getting Help for a Fentanyl Addiction

If you need help with a fentanyl addiction, Silver Sands Recovery offers professional addiction treatment. Our experienced team can provide a customized plan to help you or a loved one deal with fentanyl addiction or another substance abuse disorder. We offer a holistic approach that can help both the mind and body heal and begin a path to sobriety. For more information on our programs, Silver Sands Recovery offers, call us or reach out online.


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