Ever since the opioid epidemic began over 20 years ago, illicit substances that provide the same effects have become more and more popular. With this new wave of drug abuse came a harrowing discovery that traditionally abused opioids such as painkillers and heroin were being replaced by fentanyl. Being 100 times stronger than heroin or morphine, fentanyl is extremely easy to overdose on.
How Fentanyl Has Impacted Arizona
As a whole, the U.S. has seen over 100,000 deaths due to overdose in the last year with fentanyl being responsible for nearly 2/3 of them. Many states have seen huge spikes in fentanyl deaths with some being as high as a 5x increase.
Arizona also saw a concerning jump in fentanyl deaths, increasing by over 2,000% since 2015. These numbers indicate that Arizona is now the state with the 19th highest fentanyl deaths per capita. There have been over 4,000 fentanyl deaths in the last seven years in Arizona alone.
The increase in fentanyl use is attributed to two sources, the pandemic and an increased supply of the drug. Many Arizona residents have cited increased feelings of anxiety and depression, two factors that play heavily into a person turning to drug use to cope. Unfortunately even those who don’t turn to fentanyl or opioids are at risk as more drugs are being laced with fentanyl.
Identifying Fentanyl Use
In order to help Arizona overcome the current fentanyl crisis we’re experiencing, it’s important that residents understand fentanyl to help detect and stop its use. Knowing what to look for can help avoid an overdose especially when the user is unaware that fentanyl has been mixed into their preferred drug.
As with many heavily abused drugs, fentanyl is a synthetic opiate used to treat severe pain due to an injury or during surgery. The euphoric and pain relieving aspects of the drug are what lead many to consume it recreationally. When this happens, an addiction can start forming at a rapid pace as the effects don’t last long requiring more doses in a short amount of time.
Those exposed to fentanyl through a prescription or by working in a medical setting are the most susceptible to fentanyl’s addictive traits. Even when taken as prescribed, the drug alters how the central nervous system functions which makes it dependent on fentanyl to operate.
Signs of Fentanyl Use
Fentanyl can commonly be found mixed with other drugs as a way to increase the strength of their effects. Other opioids such as heroin are popular drugs to mix with but others such as cocaine and even marijuana are being laced more frequently. Combining any illicit drugs can have fatal results, making early intervention vital.
You or someone you know may have consumed fentanyl without knowing based on the following signs:
- Shallow breathing
- Difficult moving
- Stiff muscles and joints
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Shrunken pinpoint pupils
These side effects can compound on each other and lead to the user falling unconscious, sometimes slipping into a coma. In these situations, death by overdose is a common outcome if medical attention is not provided as soon as possible.
Get Help With Fentanyl Addiction in Arizona
Overcoming addiction to any substance is a challenge, but drugs as strong as fentanyl require extra care during the detox process. The withdrawal from fentanyl can be just as dangerous as its use but can be aided by properly administered medication. By providing patients with physical and mental health support, medical detox can be the difference between a successful recovery and relapse.
For any questions or concerns, America’s Rehab Campus encourages you to contact our compassionate staff for a free consultation. By working together with our community, ARC hopes to bring awareness to the current fentanyl and opioid epidemic spreading throughout Arizona. Don’t let you or a loved one fall victim to fentanyl use, get help today.