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Fentanyl is a powerful drug that has a potency that is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. It can be abused in many ways: smoking, snorting, spiking it onto blotter paper, and can even be taken orally by tablet or pill. It has many street names, such as Jackpot, Tango, Apache, Goodfellas, and Dance Fever. It is extremely easy to overdose on fentanyl, and the adverse effects created by an overdose on this drug are devastating; pinpoint pupils, cyanosis, clammy skin, and respiratory depression, which can sometimes lead to death. Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has very limited medical value, a high potential for abuse, and is considered a dangerous drug. Fentanyl is a dangerous drug and has been behind the ongoing opioid epidemic across the nation. Illegal fentanyl or non-pharmaceutical grade fentanyl is made in illegal labs in other countries and smuggled into the United States. Also, this fentanyl is then mixed with illegal prescription pain medication and illicit street drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Many families in Washington, DC, have been impacted by fentanyl and other opioids. When searching for treatment in the area, there are some solutions. Fentanyl detox and rehab treatments in D.C. provide practical and effective solutions for people struggling with an addiction or dependency involving fentanyl and other opioids. Typically, most families will choose an assessment to help them narrow down their search. The assessment process is beneficial for the family and the drug user. Some of the treatment services to consider include options, such as outpatient, intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization, and residential drug treatment.


Fentanyl Information, Statistics, and Tips to Stay Safe

Tips to Combat Fentanyl Abuse

  • Never stop taking medication without consulting a doctor.
  • Consider joining a support group to help you with your addiction.
  • Look for medical detox programs specialized in opioid detox.
  • If you have a loved one or an employee who you know is abusing opioids, keep naloxone handy.
  • Be aware of signs of overdose. If you see one of your friends blacking out, or showing other severe side effects, get help immediately.

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Withdrawal management is the first treatment step. Opioid withdrawal refers to a wide range of symptoms, which occur after stopping the use of pain medication or drugs like fentanyl. Typically, the withdrawal symptoms can last ten days or longer. The peak of the pain or discomfort may occur within three to five days, but there are many variables. For example, the severity depends on the amount used, the underlying medication condition, and the length of use. Withdrawal management includes using a medication, and most treatment plans include medication. Common medications include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These drugs are used to control withdrawal symptoms; however, they are not a cure for opioid addiction. Withdrawal management alone does not sustain long-lasting recovery and sobriety. Effective treatment addresses the withdrawal pain, but also provides therapy or behavioral counseling. Every person struggling with addiction has underlying issues connected to his or her addiction, which therapy treats.

Fentanyl Abuse and Opioid Misuse Prevention in Washington, D.C.

Within Washington D.C., the Prescription Drug Monitoring program aims to improve the ability to identify and reduce the diversion of prescription drugs. The purpose of the program is to enhance patient care by providing prescription monitoring information. The information collected ensures the legitimate use of controlled substances in healthcare. According to the District's Strategic Plan to Reduce Opioid Use, Misuse, and Related Deaths, in 2018 the death rate due to opioids was reduced by 31%. The district has implemented many strategies to prevent overdose, lower prescription drug diversion, and overprescribing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018, the opioid prescribing rate for Washington DC was 25 prescriptions per 100 residents. When compared to the national rate, this was much lower from 51.4 opioid prescriptions per 100 residents.

In the District of Columbia, there are many issues caused by the abuse of fentanyl. For instance, in early 2019, officers discovered, during a search warrant, 40 kilos of heroin laced with fentanyl, 40 pounds of marijuana, as well as firearms. The drugs found during the search were estimated to have been worth over 2.5 million dollars. Then, in late 2019, a man who worked for the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in D.C. was arrested and charged with selling fentanyl. It was reported that law enforcement found an ounce of fentanyl at his home, 30 grams on his person, and another quantity of the drug at his workstation. Finally, fentanyl also led to many deaths in DC, as there were 182 cases of deaths involving synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, in 2017, based on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This is a huge rise in the number of 2014, which was 13 cases. This only shows us how prevalent fentanyl has become in the past years, and how urgent the need for treatment services and programs for fentanyl abuse and addiction is.

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CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Marcel Gemme, DATS

Marcel Gemme, DATS

Author

on June 24, 2022

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.