Fentanyl is one of the deadliest drugs in the United States. It is responsible for more than 70% of the deaths from a drug overdose in 2018. Fentanyl rehab understands that addiction to fentanyl is extremely dangerous and impossible to overcome alone. The staff at Ocean Hills Recovery are experienced in helping those who are ready to commit to a life without addiction. With the support and guidance from our counselors, you will feel confident in your ability to overcome your addiction.
Now that many are left to cope with the effects of fentanyl, many are wondering where fentanyl came from in the first place. Fentanyl is a potent opioid that is directly contributing to the opioid crisis in the US. The drug, initially created to relieve pain in cancer patients, is not only easier to manufacture than other drugs but is significantly more addictive. Fentanyl’s popularity quickly rose when distributors discovered the intense and long-lasting high it can provide. Unfortunately, these properties are also what makes it so deadly.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl was originally developed in 1959 by Janssen Pharmaceutica. It is a powerful opioid medication that is used to treat chronic pain primarily in cancer patients and is most commonly prescribed as a transdermal patch. Today, there are synthetic variations of Fentanyl that can be created entirely from chemicals and produced in a lab.
Other opioids (such as heroin) are made with opium poppies and require land to grow the poppies, and time and other resources to manufacture the drugs. Since illicit Fentanyl can be synthesized in a lab, it is much easier to make, and it yields a much higher profit margin. According to Scott Stewart, an expert on terrorism and security issues, smuggling one kilogram of fentanyl is equivalent to smuggling 50 kilograms of heroin.
In addition to being easier to produce and more profitable to sell, many individuals suffering from an addiction to opioids seek it out because of the intense and long-lasting high it provides. Fentanyl is known to be 100 times more powerful than Morphine, and since it is less costly to produce, it is less expensive to purchase. This is what has led to the opioid crisis facing the United States today.
Where Does Fentanyl Come From?
The majority of Fentanyl is made in China. A shocking 40 percent of the global pharmaceutical output is from China, where there are an estimated 160,000 active chemical companies. Each company can produce and distribute fentanyl. With loose laws governing the production and distribution of fentanyl in China, it is relatively easy for it to be exported to the United States, Mexico, and Canada. There are a few different ways fentanyl makes its way across our borders.
Primarily, it is sent to Mexico and smuggled into the US by the Mexican drug cartel. It is also common for Chinese vendors to send only the chemicals to Mexico. Then, the fentanyl is produced in super labs typically used for manufacturing methamphetamines. From there, it is often pressed into pills to look like prescription opioids or mixed with heroin to cut costs and increase profits for distributors. The director of cargo and conveyance security for Customs and Border Protection reported that only about 2% of vehicles and 16% of commercial vehicles are able to be inspected due to the shortage of officers and trained dogs. With a shortage of staff and trained dogs, it is nearly impossible to inspect every vehicle, meaning border patrol misses a large number of vehicles that are smuggling the drug.
Secondly, it is common for manufacturers to ship fentanyl directly to the U.S. from China via the United States Postal Service. There are an estimated 15% of packages shipped from China to the US are not electronically tracked, making it so that the senders cannot be traced. Many individuals are also able to purchase the drug on the dark web. Since such small quantities yield a high profit, the fentanyl can even be shipped in inconspicuous packages, such as letter envelopes. With such large gaps at our borders and the use of the internet, Fentanyl is easily sent to American distributors.
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How Does Fentanyl Affect the Individual?
Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and provides a euphoric and intense high for its users. Many people favor fentanyl over other drugs for its intense high and affordable price. They do not realize that it is much more potent and that the risk of overdose is higher than other drugs, such as heroin. The fact that many manufacturers mix fentanyl with heroin or sell it as prescription pain pills makes it even more dangerous to the user. A lethal amount of fentanyl is much smaller than a lethal dose of heroin. This means that more heroin users are accidentally overdosing on what they think is their typical dose of heroin.
Aside from the dangers of overdose, opioids are also known to alter the brain chemistry of those who use regularly. The same is true of fentanyl. Regular use of fentanyl is associated with higher instances of severe anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses. It is only possible for most people to overcome their addiction to fentanyl with the help and support of an experienced fentanyl rehab facility.
Facts About Fentanyl Abuse
- The majority of synthetic Fentanyl is manufactured in China and shipped to the United States.
- Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than Morphine
- In 2016, Fentanyl was involved in nearly 50% (19,413) of opioid-related deaths, up from 14% (3,007) in 2010.
- Fentanyl is sold in several different forms, such as:
- dropped on blotter paper,
- in eye droppers or nasal sprays,
- or made into pills that look like real prescription opioids.
- Naloxone is a medicine that can be given to a person to reverse a fentanyl overdose.
- Fentanyl addiction can be treated with medications such as methadone and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Overcoming Addiction with Fentanyl Rehab
For those who are addicted to fentanyl, quitting may seem overwhelming and even impossible. Because of its high potency, becoming addicted to the drug happens very quickly and can quickly lead to a lethal overdose. Seeking treatment for fentanyl addiction is vital for quitting. It is essential to know you do not have to face this struggle alone.
Overcoming fentanyl addiction is possible with the right tools. For most people suffering from a fentanyl addiction, the use of medications like suboxone and methadone is beneficial, especially when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy and a supportive network.
Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous and highly addictive drug. The abuse of Fentanyl has led to a public health crisis in the United States. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to fentanyl, it’s essential to seek help for recovery. With the right tools and a team of experienced counselors cheering you on, you will live a life free from the chains of addiction. Reach out to Ocean Hills Recovery today if you are ready to get started.
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.