Drug treatment programs have long been regarded as the best solution to help someone get clean from illegal drugs. While the country grapples with the increasing use of drugs like heroin and prescription painkillers, some wonder why more addicts are not seeking help from rehabilitation facilities.
Experts agree that the stigma attached to drug abuse prevents some people from feeling comfortable in enrolling in a treatment facility. In addition to the perceived shun from society, users often have a difficult time admitting that they need help and following through with their admittance into treatment. Many point out that the painful withdrawal symptoms from heroin or prescription painkillers cause addicts to give up their quest for sobriety in favor of preventing the painful, flulike symptoms. However, a recent study shows that the gap between addicts and at some forms of treatment might be getting smaller, due to more physicians ability to prescribe medication to help with the process.
Buprenorphine is a medication that, when taken, helps to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms that people feel when they stop using heroin or prescription painkillers. In order to obtain a prescription for buprenorphine, someone has to go to a doctor that is approved to prescribe, or they have to turn to a treatment program. In the past, many addicts have found it difficult to locate a doctor with this ability, but now more and more doctors are obtaining the certificate that allows them to treat addicts. In fact, it has been reported that 98.9% of physicians were not licensed to dispense buprenorphine prior to 2011. That number has since dropped to 46.8%. The dramatic increase of doctors who are willing and able to help treat opioid dependency has led to a 74% increase in the availability of this form of treatment.
It must be stated, though, that the administration of buprenorphine alone doesn’t cure an addiction to heroin or painkillers. Long-term maintenance programs don’t provide the full solutions either, as the end goal should be to get off any opioid if at all possible. This is evidenced by the fact that buprenorphine itself is a drug that is abused on the street, and why doctors who prescribe the medication typically refer people to a treatment facility to address the full issues related to the substance abuse problem. If you are looking for help to recover from an opiate addiction, contact us today we’ll help you locate a treatment program that works.
The latest data from the CDC indicates that more than 64,000 people died of drug overdoses during 2016. Deaths involving the powerful drug fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids, more than doubled over the previous year and contributed to 20,145 deaths.
A dose containing as little as 3 milligrams of fentanyl can kill. The deadly nature and prevalence of fentanyl-laced heroin make this opioid one of the most serious drug threats of our time.
The Slippery Slope of Drug Addiction
In 2016, the opioid epidemic killed more people than those killed during the entirety of the Vietnam War. The crisis began in the 1990s when doctors began prescribing opioids in increasing volumes for pain management. The health care industry enabled drug dependency for years, inadvertently creating a slippery slope toward illicit drug use.
While many people understand the origin story of the opioid epidemic, they rarely see the factors that continue to fuel the epidemic more than two decades later. Prescription drug use of codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone and others is socially acceptable in many circles. Singers reference using, young people give in to peer pressure, and many doctors will prescribe medications up to the current legal limits.
When the prescription drugs dry up, heroin is cheap and far too easy to access. For less than the price of a pack of cigarettes, individuals can purchase heroin in most areas of any state. Powerful and unregulated, heroin purity and dosing varies widely. Heroin laced with fentanyl and fentanyl analogues are now killing addicted individuals in record numbers.
While more than 20,000 people died from fentanyl-related overdoses in 2016, recent research from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health suggests heroin dependence has more than tripled over the last decade. Millions of people may be at risk for a heroin and/or fentanyl-related overdose, especially men without much income or education. Without intervention, the risks of illicit drug use often turn into realities.
The Scope of the Fentanyl and Heroin Problem in Recent Years
The Sept. 1, 2017 edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates a third wave of the opioid epidemic emerged in 2013. Researchers attribute a large percentage of the increase in deaths over the last four years to fentanyl-laced drugs including heroin.
The use of fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances now contribute to more deaths than the use of heroin, prescription opioids, cocaine or methamphetamine alone. In some areas such as Massachusetts, a major center in the opioid crisis, the state Department of Public Health has recorded a decrease in total opioid-related deaths in 2017, yet it’s attributing an ever-increasing number of deaths to fentanyl.
In the Midwest in states such as Ohio, drug overdoses continue to rise. The state attributed more than 4,000 overdose deaths in 2016 to fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances.
Overdose Deaths on the Rise in Several States; Only Minor Progress in Others
Provisional overdose counts according to the CDC from January 2016 to January 2017 indicate:
A 71% increase in drug overdose deaths in Delaware
A 67% increase in drug overdose deaths in Maryland
A 55% increase in drug overdose deaths in Florida
A 50% increase in drug overdose deaths in New York City
While the increases often represent major jumps in death rates, the few decreases in the country only represent a mild decline. Overdose counts show:
An 8% decrease in drug overdose deaths in Nebraska
A 3% decrease in drug overdose deaths in Washington
A 3% decrease in drug overdose deaths in Wyoming
The total number of deaths is currently increasing at an unsustainable rate. If the trends of the past four years continue into the future, hundreds of thousands more will die before they receive the treatment needed to overcome a serious addiction.
The data indicates that since 2013, the US has faced more than a third wave of the opioid epidemic. Our country is facing a crisis within a crisis, because fentanyl is far more deadly than any other illicit drug sold today.
Information from the DEA shows law enforcement agencies secured a minimum of 239 kilograms of illegally manufactured fentanyl from 2013 to 2015. No one can say how many more kilograms slipped through the cracks during that time. Two-hundred and thirty-nine kilograms is enough fentanyl to kill tens of millions of people.
The Extreme Dangers of Fentanyl
A mere sprinkle of pure fentanyl can kill. The drug is 50 to 100 times more powerful than the active ingredient in heroin, and illegal drug manufacturers and dealers rarely disclose its presence in heroin. Drug traffickers use the powerful synthetic opioid to maximize profits, but one error can lead to overdose.
Professionals who respond to overdose calls and bust drug trafficking circles are at risk, too. Fentanyl can kill via inhalation or contact with skin. Those who come into contact with fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances such as carfentanil must seek medical intervention quickly to reduce the risk of overdose death.
The effects of fentanyl kick in much faster than the effects of other opioids, and overdose victims may need more than one dose of naloxone to overcome the effects. Anyone who deals, uses or confiscates illegally manufactured fentanyl faces the risks of overdosing.
A Widespread Problem
Celebrities including the singer Prince and Paul Gray, bassist for the band Slipknot, have died from fentanyl-related overdoses in the last few years. Others, including actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Cory Monteith, have died from heroin-related overdoses in recent years. These examples underscore the fact that no one is immune from the dangers of heroin and fentanyl.
The problems with heroin and fentanyl extend far beyond celebrity circles. Today, high schoolers, young adults, professionals, parents and others are dying from opioid-related overdoses, many involving fentanyl-laced heroin. In America, drugs cause more accidental deaths than car accidents and shootings; and, the crisis is only spreading.
The UK also noticed a considerable increase in fentanyl-related deaths starting in 2016. More than 60 people have died in the UK from fentanyl-laced drugs since late 2016. In Canada, British Columbia coroners’ reports cited the powerful opioid in roughly 368 overdose deaths over a four-month period in 2017, and Alberta recorded 176 deaths in a five-month period.
Alcohol and drug rehab facilities can successfully curb the rate of death, but only if they reach addicted persons in time. Those addicted to opioids need ongoing treatment and support to overcome dependency and reduce their risk of encountering fentanyl-laced substances.
How to Stage an Intervention for Drug Addiction
The most recent estimates show only 10 percent of individuals with substance use disorders receive the specialized help they need. Addicted individuals often need the support of sober family members, friends and professional treatment facilities to overcome opioid addictions of all kinds. Intervention help for families is certainly out there, and Addiction Treatment Services specializes in helping families find the right treatment.
Don’t wait to help a loved one make the personal decision to find treatment. Opioids represent a real and dangerous risk that users may not recognize before it’s too late. Stage an intervention with the help of professionals who know and understand opioid addiction.
Addiction Treatment Services believes everyone deserves an opportunity to overcome addiction. We’re here to help connect you to professional interventionists and assist you in your search for effective heroin detox and treatment programs that work with your insurance.
Suboxone is a drug used to treat opiate addiction that was designed to reduce withdrawal symptoms through a tapering process. It is a combination of a synthetic opioid called buprenorphine and an opiate antagonist called naloxone. This mixture was designed to also prevent someone from overdosing on the drug.
Despite some careful measures, the drug eventually found its way to the street and, according to reports from multiple states, into prisons as well.
Most recently, a feature article in Cleveland, OH detailed some of the problems that the department of corrections is having with inmates smuggling in Suboxone for illicit consumption. Officials there have indicated that there has been an increase in the number of incidents involving Suboxone smuggling.
The drug’s maker had introduced a thin strip taken orally rather than a pill and unsuccessfully tried to prevent generic pill versions from entering the market. Ironically, their safety concerns for the pill vs. the strip were cited in the objection, yet both are abused on the street.
In just over a decade Suboxone prescriptions have grown from zero to many millions, and there are reportedly more than 22,000 doctors in the U.S. who prescribe the drug. Despite its inevitable misuse, the drug has been primarily lauded as a safer alternative to methadone for treating people addicted to opiates.
We strive to be fully transparent in all of our relationships. To that end, we want you to be aware that Addiction Treatment Services is compensated by Behavioral Health Centers for the work Addiction Treatment Services does in the development and operation of this site. Behavioral Health Centers was carefully vetted and selected to be a trusted provider and partner with Addiction Treatment Services, based on the quality of treatment provided and their rigorous commitment to ethical practices.
All calls to general contact numbers and contact us forms on this site are routed to Behavioral Health Centers. If Behavioral Health Centers is unable to assist with a particular need they are committed to providing direction and assistance in finding appropriate care.