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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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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

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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.