The Battle Against Fentanyl Overdose and Deaths
When distributors find a product that’s cheap to make and in high demand, supply instantly increases. Unfortunately, in the illegal drug industry, there’s no regulation on the risks imposed on users. After decades of use, the United States government deemed heroin unlawful in 1924. Despite its recent fatal rampage through the U.S., an even deadlier force replaced heroin. Fentanyl overdose quickly became an issue across the country, hitting some states much harder than others. In 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl.
From 2016 to 2017, California was one of three states that showed a significant increase in overdose deaths, prompting the state to be approved for Funding for Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS). This funding would enhance its surveillance activities, including linking data sources, improving the timeliness of nonfatal and fatal overdose data, and CDC-approved innovative projects.
While California worked with the federal government to curb the distribution, use, and deaths caused by fentanyl, the synthetic opioid is still largely to blame for making 2017 one of the worst years for drug overdose deaths in the state. Preliminary numbers show California’s overdose deaths from the synthetic opioid fentanyl increased by 57 percent in 2017, killing 431 people, according to the state’s Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid up to 50 times more potent than heroin and can be 100 times more potent than morphine. In its legal form, fentanyl is a prescription often prescribed to patients with severe pain, particularly after surgery or for those battling cancer. When found in an illicit form, fentanyl is a white powder that can take a pill form or be laced into other drugs, like methamphetamine, counterfeit Xanax or crack cocaine, for a stronger high.
Fentanyl Overdose and Use by Sex, Race
Rates of drug abuse are lower in women than men. Studies show adult men are 2 to 3 times more likely than women to have a drug abuse/dependence disorder. However, women tend to increase their rate of consumption of alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and cocaine more rapidly than men.
From 1999 to 2017, the death rate from drug overdoses among women aged 30–64 years increased by 260 percent. Drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids increased, according to CDC. Among women, the average age at death for synthetic opioid drug overdose deaths is 44.2.
By 2016, the rate for male drug overdose deaths was 2.8 times the rate for females, at 8.6 (per 100,000 population) compared to 3.1, respectively. Some research suggests men are more likely to use drugs alone. When it comes to fentanyl use, that increases a man’s chances of an overdose and death.
Rates for drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl by age group show young adults, ages 25-34, suffering a lethal overdose most frequently at 13 deaths per 100,000 population. Those aged 65 and over report the fewest fentanyl-involved deadly drug overdoses (>1).
While more whites die due to fentanyl overdose than blacks or Hispanics, the death rate for blacks is increasing more rapidly. For 2015, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley calculated that the opioid-related overdose mortality rate for whites was 12.2 per 100,000, nearly twice the rate for blacks (about 6.6 per 100,000). However, between 2000 and 2015, the opioid death rate increased 51 percent among whites but 87 percent among blacks.
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Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction
Health experts suggest women are more likely to seek and enter drug rehab for fentanyl abuse because they go to the doctor more frequently. Abuse experts say every encounter with a medical professional offers the opportunity for the addict to seek help and for the doctor to recognize signs of addiction and provide assistance.
As you search for the best California drug rehab center either for yourself or a loved one, it’s essential to know what type of support you can expect. At Ocean Hills Recovery, we rely on customized drug treatment programs for each patient. We take into consideration the patient’s history, learning style, and individual responses to treatment.
Whether you’re attempting to overcome a reliance on fentanyl or you want more information for a loved one who needs professional drug rehabilitation assistance, our courteous staff is ready to answer your questions.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.