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Fentanyl, a Deadly Bate ad Switch Game

The United States Fentanyl Crisis

The opioid crisis in the United States has resulted in approximately 192 deaths per day. Oxycodone and heroin were not responsible for these deaths. The drug currently killing people is called fentanyl. Fatal drug overdoses significantly increased from 1999 through 2017 due to fentanyl. This drug is classified as a synthetic opioid between eighty and 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl has been used for many years in anesthesia cocktails and cancer patches to relieve pain. During the fairly recent past, fentanyl has become a viral recreational drug. 

The Centers for Disease Control has recently issued a report stating fentanyl is involved in more fatal overdoses than any other drug throughout the United States. In 2016, nearly one-third of all fatalities involved fentanyl. There was an increase of approximately 113 percent of fatal overdoses between 2013 and 2016. A minimum of two-thirds of the deaths related to fentanyl involved a minimum of one additional drug. This is partially due to drug dealers lacing cocaine and heroin with fentanyl to increase potency while cutting costs. 

This means when an individual purchases opioids, they are receiving a deadly combination. Fentanyl was involved in two of every five overdose deaths related to cocaine. Almost one-third of all deaths resulting from fentanyl involved heroin as well. Fentanyl overdose has become an extreme legitimate danger. 

The Truth About Fentanyl

Fentanyl works just like other opioids. The drug binds to the brain’s opioid receptors. These receptors control both emotions and pain. As the individual continues to use fentanyl, the brain adapts. The effects of the drug are weakened which results in the individual using larger quantities. This often results in dependency. Due to the potency of the drug, fentanyl is used for the treatment of chronic pain or severe pain resulting from surgery. 

Although a prescription can be written for fentanyl, the most common drug overdose is linked to the fentanyl produced in underground laboratories, manufactured into pills created to look like another prescription, added to nasal sprays and eye droppers, and even just sold as a powder. Drug suppliers and dealers are literally killing people to increase their profits. Fentanyl has a lot of harmful effects and symptoms. This includes:

• Anxiety

• Heartbeat changes

• Shallow and slow breathing

• Drowsiness

• Depression

• Seizures

• Confusion

• Chest, back and stomach pain

• Dizziness

• Itching

Continually using or overusing fentanyl can result in fainting, respiratory complications, depression and ultimately overdose, resulting in complications. 

The Fentanyl Epidemic

The opioid crisis in America is now a fentanyl epidemic spiraling out of control. There is a fentanyl overdose occurring every day. There were painkillers containing fentanyl created using counterfeit prescriptions by a man in Utah. He became a drug kingpin by mailing this deadly drug to people all over the United States. He will be going to trial, along with a small group of individuals, regarding allegations of using the basement of his home to send hundreds of thousands of packages with pills containing fentanyl. 

Issues the federal government’s prosecutors will bring to light: the drug is being imported from China, it is poorly manufactured in to fake pills that are then sold and dispersed throughout every state via the online black market, sequentially killing tens of thousands of people by drug overdose The allegations of the prosecutors state dozens of customers died from a fentanyl overdose. Despite this, the charges for the ringleader include just one death: an individual 21 years of age who died after snorting what was believed to be prescription oxycodone but was laced with fentanyl. 

The ringleader began as a workout buff and aspiring entrepreneur. He said he did not realize the danger of his actions and was simply trying to make money. He never saw the people he was harming, just the numbers on his screen. At the time he was arrested, the bust was one of the biggest in the country’s history. According to documents from the court, the raid on his home revealed thousands of pills, a pill press in the basement and garbage bags containing in excess of $1 million in cash. 

The group began two years previously, eventually including over a dozen individuals. According to the allegations of the court documents, they met the ringleader while working at an eBay call center. The partnership began with two men. They started out by importing steroids, then reselling them to their friends from the gym. Another man pled guilty for assisting in the development of the recipe and pressing the pills laced with fentanyl. The fentanyl was shipped to several homes of the group’s members directly from China. The authorities stated the residents were then paid to turn over the drug. 

The powder was allegedly cut, fillers added and then pressed into pill form. According to the prosecutors, stamps and dyes were used to replicate the appearance of legitimate pills. Public health experts have issued warnings regarding the danger of small drug trafficking networks. Fentanyl is being cut and mixed despite the fact just a few flakes can be deadly. Due to the amateur equipment being used, one pill may only contain a small amount of fentanyl while another may have enough to cause immediate death.

According to the prosecutor, the pills being shipped were poison in disguise. Average people purchased these pills such as someone who became addicted due to an injury or surgery. The pills were sold at a dark-web marketplace on the internet called Pharma-Master. Reaching the dark web requires a special browser and is frequently used for dark activity. The dark-web also has user-friendly sites a lot like eBay and Amazon. The court documents stated Pharma-Master is one of the more prominent dealers often processing as many as fifty orders per day.

The pills were counted, vacuum-sealed and shipped to homes throughout the United States in envelopes. According to the prosecutors, the packages had phony return addresses and fake invoices. Mailboxes throughout Salt Lake City were used to drop the packages so the group could hide from the police. Some of the orders were smaller while others contained thousands of pills. The prosecutors stated these were sent to drug dealers and gang members who sold them on the streets. The cost of making each pill was less than one cent yet the prosecutors said they sold on the street for $20.

Preventing Deaths from Fentanyl

Preventable injuries and deaths such as fatal overdoses are often referred to as accidental. This implies these deaths are unable to be prevented. Overdoses can be prevented when the individual can easily access the help they require. The third highest cause of death in the United States are preventable injuries. As the government attempts to establish control of the opioid epidemic, new chemicals are being produced to subvert the law. Enforcement and strict regulations are not enough to eliminate the market for illicit drugs or prevent access. 

Regulations are being pursued to decrease the fentanyl being received in the United States through China. The increasing demand for these types of drugs must also be addressed to ensure a real impact. This means the people must be educated regarding the true dangers including possible overdose and death resulting from fentanyl. The reasons individuals started using these drugs are just as important. If these reasons are not addressed, the war on illegal drugs will never end. 

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Sober Living, What, Why and How…

What is Sober Living?

Sometimes known as a halfway house, sober home living facilities act as a bridge between the in-patient care facility and going back to the real world. These facilities are designed to assist individuals to learn how to function again in society by participating in various responsible tasks, such as paying bills, household chores, meetings, and participating in events and activities that are drug-free. 

Before leaving the drug/alcohol rehab, physicians, mental health professionals, and the client will discuss the rehabilitation and recovery afttercare process. For many who suffers from drug/alcohol addiction, going straight from the in-patient care to the real world is not a good idea. Life issues may arise that may be too challenging to the recovering addict. And as a result, the newly, drug/alcohol-free person can easily return to his/her old ways. So, physicians and mental health experts will usually inform the patient about aftercare at a sober home especially since the recovering addict will stay in the drug/alcohol rehab for only a short period. And if the person has been on drugs/alcohol for a long time, it may be in his/her best interest to get involved in this type of facility to have a better chance in recovering. 

The Benefits of Sober Home Living

While these types of facilities can be very helpful, these organizations don’t have the same structure level as an in-patient facility. These facilities, however, have curfews, household chores, and other obligations. When living at these facilities, clients will adjust to normal life through accountability, therapy, and support. 

Having said this, the following includes the benefits of sober living: 

1. They are a peaceful, warm, and stable living environment.

2. They are completely free from harmful influences. 

3. There is usually a house manager of staff who works and lives on-site to assist the residents and run operations. 

4. There are usually other healthy activities, depending on the type of facility. These activities can include yoga, hiking, mindfulness, or meditation programs. 

5. Group counseling and individual therapy are required. An example of group counseling is the 12-step sponsorship programs. 

6. These homes have strict rules which are a good thing. Recovering addicts must get used to following strict guidelines. They typically have random drug testing. 

7. No overnight guests are allowed. 

8. There must be sobriety for the entire stay. 

How to Choose a Sober Facility?

One main thing to do is that the loved ones of recovering addicts must choose a sober home facility that is a safe residing place. When families are choosing a facility for their spouse, their child, or a relative, it must be a safe living environment that is favorable for their recovery. There must be supportive people going through and went through similar issues of substance abuse. There must also be professionals to guide them. The following includes more details in choosing a facility: 

1. Structure

It’s imperative to investigate how structuralized these facilities are. Even if some of these programs have the loftiest amenities and perks, they don’t necessarily provide the top-notch structure needed to ensure the clients have the best tools and gain the most strength to be healed and recover holistically. 

Having said this, top-notch facilities enforce a zero-tolerance policy toward alcohol and drugs by them establishing random drug tests, regular house check-ins, and a curfew. Clients should always feel comfortable asking team members how they maintain schedules for residents. Every program has its own distinctive routine on an individual and collective scale. 

A collective routine for a community can range from assigning chores around the house to group activities. When it comes to an individual scale, many communities assist residents in working toward keeping a schedule that encourages recovery, like attending therapy and a twelve-step program regularly. With this schedule, the client can thrive at school, work- at life! 

2. Safety

The neighborhood where the sober home living facility is located, may also have an effect on your decision. Along with your family member staying sober, you want to know that they’re safe at the facility. A house should ensure the safety of residents and have some form of security. Safety within the house is also important. Your family member may need medication management, or you may want to know about specific risk-reduction and plans in case of emergencies. You can always ask the people in charge of a sober living about any of the above and feel that your questions are fully answered.

3. Team

Meeting the staff in charge of these facilities will also give a great impact in deciding whether this program is the right choice for the loved one. As previously stated, all places don’t have the same staff structure. Some may have inexperienced team members in handling clients who have a dual-diagnosis. Some communities have a clinical nurse. So, in choosing a high-quality program, clients/their loved ones should consider one with good clinical support, strong administration, and some experienced team members. These team members should be experienced in handling many situations, such as having different personalities under one roof, and remaining calm and diplomatic when handling conflicts and tough situations. Also, there should be some experienced team members with experience in the 12-steps program. These members will understand the addict’s mindset and are helpful in assisting clients with their struggles, and in sharing their own experiences that continually helped them on their successful sobriety path. 

4. Community and Culture

There are a different community and culture in every sober home that is based on its residents and staff. A facility with all-female or all-male is highly recommended. However, there are also co-ed facilities available in most cities. Nevertheless, the sober house should foster cooperation, friendship, and unity between residents. A program with regular group meetings provides residents the opportunity to discuss issues in the house and to constructively and openly speak about their feelings to promote a positive environment. The goal here is to assist residents to adjust to this new lifestyle and to let them know that they are not alone in their recovery process. 


Many times, it is best for people suffering from substance abuse to get afttercare once they complete drug/alcohol rehab. This fact is especially true for those who have been experiencing substance abuse for a long time. Getting involved in a safe and effective sober living community is the way to go. 

With these types of facilities, there are various benefits. The most costly ones don’t necessarily mean they are the best ones. And thus, it’s imperative that these facilities meet the qualifications mentioned above to ensure great success in recovery.

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Omega Recovery Continuum of Care

Having a loved one who is struggling with an alcohol or substance abuse is probably one of the most overwhelming experiences one could go through. On most instances, the addict rarely accepts that they have a problem, and if they do, they keep promising to change but never do.

Addiction recovery is something that most people are not trained or equipped to handle. A drug treatment center or an alcohol treatment center is your best bet if you find yourself in this situation. These facilities have trained and experienced personnel as well as specialized treatment programs.

At Omega Recovery center, we utilize a seven-stage approach to addiction treatment. Our programs are designed to not only get the addict clean but also to ensure that they do not resume their destructive habit. Here’s what you should know about our steps to recovery.

  1. Intervention


While there are individuals that admit they have a problem and seek treatment on their own, most addicts however, are reluctant to admit their destructive behavior. Such individuals, therefore, need a push to steer them towards recovery lest they succumb to their problem. This ‘push’ is what is referred to as an intervention.

During the intervention, a team consisting of a substance abuse interventionist gathers with the addict and explains to them the negative consequences of their substance abuse while outlining ways in which they can overcome it.

The goal of intervention, therefore, is to present the addicted individual with a structured opportunity to accept help and make changes before things take a turn for the worst.

In order for an intervention to be successful, the primary responsibility for planning and leading the intervention needs to be left to a professional. This is because a trained interventionist is usually a professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor. Thus, they are well-versed in the psychology of addiction and family dynamics. As such, they know the right buttons to press to get the addict to acknowledge their problem while motivating them to change through treatment.

This is unlike most family-led interventions which only succeed in making the addict feel guilty thus causing even further resentment and averseness towards change. A professional knows how to cut through the deception and expose the problem so that the addicted individual has no other option but to accept change.

  1. Detox

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Detoxification is the first stage of treatment once a patient checks into our drug and alcohol treatment center. The aim of detox is to purge the body of foreign chemicals so as to allow the patient to begin their recovery with a clean slate.

And because detox involves taking the patient completely off the substance they are addicted to, their body immediately begins experiencing withdrawal symptoms which range from the uncomfortable to the potentially fatal. This is especially true for patients withdrawing from an alcohol or opioid addiction. The withdrawal symptoms associated with those substances include seizures which can cause death.

This is why addiction treatment needs to be done at an alcohol or drug treatment center as these facilities offer medical oversight to ensure the safety and comfort of the recovering addict.

The initial days of detox are usually the worst as the withdrawal symptoms are at their peak. Since the body had developed a dependency on the substance, depriving it of the substance makes it unable to function properly. As such, this stage is when the patient is more than likely going to relapse if they attempt the recovery by themselves as they will find it almost impossible to cope.

Addiction treatment centers use special medication that mimics the effects of the abused substance to help the patient cope better so as to prevent relapsing.

  1. Extended Care – Inpatient Rehab

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Inpatient rehab offers the best chances of making a complete and successful recovery. In addition to ridding the addict’s body of the substance, inpatient rehab provides the individual with psychological treatment that aims to address the root of their addiction while assisting them to find better ways to cope with stressors to prevent future relapses.

As such, treatment here involves:

 One on one counseling sessions

 Daily group therapy sessions

 Recreational therapy

 Access to healthcare professionals such as physicians and psychiatrists.

 Medication management

  1. Extended Care – Intensive Outpatient

For recovering addicts whose situation is not severe, intensive outpatient treatment would be a good fit for them since they can continue with their addiction treatment while living at home.

As such, the individual will still be attending their treatment sessions up to eight hours a day. However, once their sessions are completed, they are free to leave the facility and handle other life objectives.

Nonetheless, the doctor is the one to decide whether the patient can handle recovering from their addiction under this treatment program. Additionally, if the patient does not show the expected signs of improvement, or skips sessions or even relapses, they might be required to live in the facility again until they show improvement.

  1. Extended Care – Partial Hospitalization

Partial hospitalization is quite similar to intensive outpatient in that the recovering addict will be allowed to go home after attending their treatment sessions during the day. Partial hospitalization, however, is a bit more comprehensive than intensive outpatient and therefore would be an ideal fit for people who require a little more treatment than that offered in an outpatient program, but not as much as that offered in an inpatient program.

Addiction recovery specialists perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether partial hospitalization is an ideal fit for the individual.

  1. Sober Living

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This stage of recovery typically begins about four months after rehabilitation. Here, the recovering individual continues to work on their abstinence strategies that help them avoid environmental, psychosocial, and emotional triggers to their substance use. Additionally, the individual works on ways they can use to cope with daily stress.

One of the key factors towards maintaining sober living is to retain a humble attitude towards the power of addiction and not taking abstinence lightly. Another important thing is to have a personal vigilance against relapse.

But of utmost importance is that the recovering addict maintains their participation in self-help groups. These groups are incredible beneficial as the individuals are able to share their challenges thus encouraging each other to stick with the program. This mutual support helps the recovering addict to avoid relapsing.

Consequently, long term recovery is only possible if the individual commits to a lifestyle change. To maintain sobriety while living a fulfilling life, the individual needs to establish healthy relationships, exercise and eat well, and work on resolving their personal issues. Upon establishing this healthy lifestyle, they must live it on a daily basis.

  1. Alumni

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An alumni program is meant to keep recovering addicts in contact with former patients as well as the facility. At Omega, we regularly host events to keep our alumni in touch. The goal of the alumni program is to help the former patient maintain their sobriety by providing them with connections, advice, and encouragement as well as activities that distract them from triggers to drug use.

Through structured programs, an alumni program is able to reduce the risk of the patient relapsing through discouraging social isolation. Since its inception, many former patients have talked about how invaluable the program has been towards their path to sober living.

Drug abuse is a national epidemic that is the cause of many broken relationships, families, and even fatalities. If you have a loved one struggling with alcohol and substance abuse, do not wait for the individual to admit that they need help in order to take action. At Omega Recovery Center, we have a structured approach towards treating addiction. We will help you get your loved one the treatment they need in addition to ensuring that they do not fall back to their habits later on.

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Positive Ways to Celebrate the Holidays if You’re in Recovery

The holidays are here with us. This time of the year is supposed to be peaceful and joyous. However, it can also be a time of sadness, tension, and depression, especially for people struggling with addiction. Feelings of hurt, loss of a loved one, shame, resentment, and guilt about the past can heighten such emotions.


Newly sobers may find it hard to navigate through these situations while living without the substance. Fortunately, the experience of spending quality time with family and having the right support can help to foster a positive environment for recovery. Unfortunately, if you are recovering from substance use, you may also be tempted to break away from your sobriety during the holidays.


While you may seek support from family and friends, take charge of your own sobriety. The holidays should be a reminder and a proof of positive things that can be achieved through serenity, sobriety, and service. Here are tips to help you to navigate through the holidays without a relapse.


Be thankful


Remind yourself of the positive steps you have made and how far you have come in your abstinence journey. The holiday season is the perfect time to reward yourself for your accomplishments. Celebrate the many hurdles you have gone through, no matter how small they may be.


The fact that you have taken actions and have the desire to change your life, even if you have just started your sobriety journey, is a positive step that should empower you to achieve greater things. To keep yourself in the right mindset, list all the positive things in your life, why you fought addiction and many other things you are grateful for.


Make preparations for staying sober


Everyone recovering from substance abuse should have a relapse prevention strategy. In your plan, describe the strategies you are using to support your rehabilitation during the holidays. For instance, if you communicate with your sponsor or a positive friend three times a week, make it seven times a week during the holidays. If you have certain cravings, draw anti-craving strategies. These could include things like reading anti-relapse literature, exercising, calling someone, or even praying.


On top of this, think about each day and fill it with things that empower or bring you joy. If you tend to get lonely, plan to surround yourself with positive people.


As you draw your plan, it is important to be realistic. Sometimes, you may need to be careful especially when some situations depend on the actions of others. It is best to avoid spending time with people who are a bad influence. For example, friends you used to drink together with before your rehab.

Have an escape strategy


Basing on previous holiday experiences, identify potential scenarios that may make you break away from your routine and draw a strategy of how you will respond to each scenario. Think about people that can support you in your journey and the ones who cannot. Also, decide on the things you can talk about and the ones you are not willing to discuss.


You may want to inform people about your situation as most people don’t stigmatize addiction anymore. But if you are not willing to be open about it, find a way to turn down alcohol or drugs. Know and rehearse your response even if it is a fake excuse.


If you are planning to attend social gatherings, always arrive early and depart early. This strategy will help you avoid awkward situations. In most cases, drug and alcohol use is more common as the party continues. Don’t worry about offending the host by arriving early because your sobriety is cardinal.


Mind what you drink


If you are attending social events, chances are that someone will ask you, “Would you like a drink?” It is, therefore, helpful to have a beverage with you to avoid such questions. Sometimes, you may also accidentally choose a wrong drink, only to realize when you have already swallowed. This does not mean that you have a relapse, but replace the drink immediately.

To avoid some of these awkward situations, you can bring your own drinks to social gatherings. This way, you will less likely to fall victim to any mischievous attempt to spike your drink with drug or alcohol. Keep in mind that not everyone will take your rehabilitation seriously.


Share support


Surround yourself with positive people during the holiday season. There are many people who struggle with recovery and who are in need of support. Plan to spend time with such people. When you support others in their struggles, you will take your focus elsewhere, thus paying little attention to your own struggles and shortcomings. As a group, you may even find ways of giving back to the society, for instance, visiting the elderly, volunteering service at your local church or charity, or even spending time with the less fortunate.


Seek help


To avoid being lonely or out of place when you attend social events, bring along a sober friend who understands your situation. If you are traveling out of town, have phone numbers of the right people in your support system.


Support and encouragement comes in handy during tempting times. If you are part of a support group or attending rehab sessions, make sure you do not miss all your routine meetings. Don’t allow the holiday mood to jeopardize your sobriety journey.

Celebrating with a loved one in recovery


If you have a loved one who is trying to overcome substance abuse, give them your support. If your family has holiday practices that don’t help in bringing the family together in a supportive way, make new traditions.


While everyone should treat relapse as serious as it is, watch out not to suffocate the recovering person’s ability to relish his or her moments of glory. Family members need to discuss with recovering loved ones about things that will make them comfortable during the holiday season. Here are a few tips that may help to accommodate recovering individuals during the holiday.


  • Ask the recovering family member if he or she is comfortable taking part in holiday celebrations. Help the person understand that it is okay to miss some events if that is best for his or her recuperation.


  • Find out the beverages that the recovering person prefers. Many recovering individuals may love non-alcoholic cocktails. However, be wary of some drinks because they can be a trigger for the newly sober. Beverages such as hot or iced tea, cocoa, coffee, or hotly spiced cedar are safer options.


  • Ask if the person would like to invite a friend who does not drink. Sometimes, recovering persons love to spend time with another recovering friend or someone who understands their situation, especially in social gatherings where alcohol is served.

Enjoy the holidays


Being the time for celebrations, don’t let your struggles prevent you from enjoying your holiday. Take it easy and celebrate your sobriety in style. Find activities that help you connect with body, mind, and spirit. Maintain your exercise routine, have plenty of rest, pray, and watch what you eat. Maintaining sobriety will help you experience the true spirit the holiday. Don’t be afraid to seek support when you feel overwhelmed and always keep communication lines open.

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Experiential Mondays ~ Enjoying Nature in Austin

Experiential Mondays at Omega recovery include activities like hiking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, horseback riding, and tons of other outdoor adventures. Nature has unique and healing qualities that people have benefited from since the beginning of time. Balance is key to recovery and a healthy life.  Adventure therapy in nature helps our mind, body and soul decompress from our stressful, high-tech driven lives.

Standing on Rocks - Experiential Mondays

Drugs and alcohol dull the senses and shut off the user from the surrounding environment. At Omega Recovery we believe a healthy recovery includes an awakening of the senses and reconnecting with nature.

Log - Experientail Mondays

Nature adventures help recovery by restoring energy and confidence. Nature clears the mind, instills hope, and helps a successful life become conceivable. The Barton Creek Greenbelt located in south-central Austin, contains over 800 acres of beautiful nature trails, with the main trail spanning almost 8 miles.

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Clients connect and transform with adventure therapy and the magic of the Austin greenbelts. Experiential Mondays at Omega Recovery sends clients on a journey of self-discovery, healthy recovery and personal growth.

Overlook - Experiential Mondays

Nature helps us to look at ourselves honestly, with regard to our gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses. Spending time on trails in the greenbelt, rock climbing, swimming in Barton Springs, exploring the hill country are just a few of the ways to help us see our true potential, to develop self-love and accept ourselves for who we truly are. Moreso, we’re able to invision who we can become. Adventure therapy at Omega Recovery is a big part of our program and we continue to see it inspire emotional healing in our clients. To learn more about our programs, contact us at 512-387-9575.