A Stark Warning About Fentanyl that Every Family Needs to Hear
If you think we talk about fentanyl too much on our blog, tell that to the 300 families that lose a member to drug overdose every day. Nearly half of those deaths can be traced to synthetic opioids, like fentanyl.
Fentanyl isn’t going away, and neither will we. It’s cheap to manufacture, and it’s extremely potent. That means it’s extremely deadly, and, no, drug dealers don’t care about killing their clientele. Considering more than 500,000 people are dependent on heroin alone, they can always find another buyer.
No one will ever care about your family more than you.
That’s why you must do the research, know the risk factors, and start the conversation around the opioid epidemic. The information is out there. To provide a condensed version of opioid history, events, signs, symptoms, treatment options, etc., Scott Silverman wrote The Opioid Epidemic: What You Don’t Know Will Destroy Your Family and Your Life (newly available in audio format).
Dealers often disguise fentanyl in other drugs.
The Department of Justice cites the following cases in Orange County, California:
- Three people died of a fentanyl overdose after purchasing cocaine.
- Two people died from a fentanyl overdose after buying Xanax.
- One person died of a fentanyl overdose after purchasing Percocet.
All six of these people believed they were buying something else, something they’d had before, something they could handle. But there are no regulations when it comes to street drugs. Nearly two-thirds of drug users surveyed for a study by the Bloomberg American Health Initiative said they had experienced an opioid overdose, and 80% attributed their last overdose to fentanyl.
You can help loved ones who are already addicted.
Fentanyl test strips save lives. Users who detect fentanyl in another drug, like heroin or cocaine, may choose not to use it, will use smaller doses, use in the company of others, or make sure they have Narcan nearby.
It’s not a perfect solution. You may feel you are enabling the user in your life, which may be why nineteen states still refuse to legalize these test strips. But addiction is a disease. You can’t cure it in one day, but you can help ensure your loved one lives to see another.
Carry Narcan. Narcan (a.k.a. naloxone) is accessible at any major pharmacy. If a loved one overdoses on any opioid, administering this reversal nasal spray can block the effects of opiates in the brain, restore breathing, and save their life.
Encourage them to carry Narcan, as well.
The best way to prevent loss of life due to fentanyl is to talk about it.
Make sure those you love (your children especially) know the risks of opioid use. Have that conversation early, before they have the chance to start, so you don’t have it in a hospital room—or not at all.
If you are facing a situation with a loved one, spouse, or even a child that has started to spiral, seek help.
If you are in San Diego and facing a situation with a loved one, spouse, or even a child that has started to spiral, please call us at (619) 452–1200.
Scott H. Silverman is a crisis coach and family navigator who is passionate about addiction education, prevention, and treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction.
Categoriesfentanyl Intervention opioids san diego