The daily news doesn’t often report on the drastic drug-death occurrences related to fentanyl in California as it does so much more heavily on the East Coast. This is mainly due in part to the fact that the illicit use of fentanyl is a more prominent problem on the East Coast and the Midwest. Fentanyl addiction treatment California is growing, though, as illicit fentanyl use on the black market continues to spread.
While preliminary report data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that drug overdose deaths have declined in the last year– there’s a catch. Yes, a 5% drop in overdose deaths in 2018 is the first drop since the opioid epidemic began in the 1990s. But, the data also has found that overdose deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl are still on the rise. Experts worry there’s no reason to believe they’ll level off as the illicit use of fentanyl continues to grow.
It’s as if fentanyl took experts and clinicians by surprise in its power and devastation. Illegal fentanyl use is mostly an East Coast issue centered in the Northeast and slowly moving to the Midwest. However, the fear is that it will quickly overtake the West Coast as well.
West Coast Bound: There’s Room to Grow
Because there is a difference in illicit drug trafficking networks on the East Coast than there is on the West, fentanyl and fentanyl-laced drugs are heavily concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest. In those regions, much of the heroin that fentanyl is mixed with is China white heroin, and fentanyl is laced for stronger highs without users even knowing sometimes. California’s illicit opioids, however, are met in large part by the Sinaloa Cartel, which mainly exports black tar heroin to the state. As the name implies, it’s harder to lace fentanyl in this type of sticky, viscous heroin.
California sellers realize that fentanyl is much more potent and addictive, but significantly less expensive. Experts believe it’s only a matter of time before it’s an epidemic on the West Coast and particularly in California. Researcher Bryce Pardo thinks there is certainly room for the fentanyl use to grow. Once it gets a foothold, he believes the market will be quickly overswept.
So it’s only a matter of time before the drug trafficking networks change, and make the spread of fentanyl a problem for the West Coast. Experts fear it could be even more significant than the heroin epidemic in scope, and it is already making its way to the West Coast at rapid speed. In 2017, an estimated 536 deaths in California were due to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, while just a year later in 2018, based on preliminary data, that number rose to 743. That’s a 39% increase and cause for alarm.
Fentanyl’s False Allure
As more focus occurs on the opioid crisis, heroin becomes more and more challenging to obtain. In many places in the United States, it’s disappeared, but it’s been replaced with the powerfully synthetic fentanyl. Today’s headlines tout that fentanyl has overtaken heroin as the primary source of opioid deaths. It leads one to wonder what the allure, however false it may be, really is.
Fentanyl was initially developed to be a potent prescription painkiller. Often used for those with chronic pain and/or who were suffering at the end of life, fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than the morphine from which it comes.
As sellers and users quickly began to see its inexpensive effects, it began to be laced into common street drugs for quicker, more potent highs.
The problem is that because it is so powerful, fentanyl results in quicker overdoses, often fatal. While you may initially believe your ‘euphoric high’ from the drug will be even more enhanced, fentanyl typically offers a rapid (if any) period of euphoria. This period of euphoria is followed quickly by significantly sedative effects. If you misuse fentanyl, you put yourself at risk of slower heart rates and breathing difficulties, difficulty walking and talking, slurred speech, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, passing out, and even death.
Long-term effects of chronic fentanyl abuse include weaker immune systems, gastrointestinal difficulties, and lifelong seizure disorders.
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment California: There Is Help
Fentanyl is a powerful drug that has slowly but surely made its way to California. And, because it’s highly addictive and relatively inexpensive to come by, the deadly danger will inevitably spread throughout the state. Even though this is a relatively new drug to the West Coast, there is hope and help to be found at fentanyl addiction treatment California offered by Ocean Hills Recovery.
If you or someone that you love has become addicted to fentanyl, Ocean Hills has the compassion, experience, and holistic methodology that can save your life. The power of fentanyl is strong, but together with the caring staff at Ocean Hills Recovery, you can be stronger. You don’t have to worry about yourself or your loved ones any more second about the dangers of fentanyl. Contact Ocean Hills Recovery today—we’re waiting to help.
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.