Many people know that fentanyl is a growing problem in all corners of California as well as America. Unfortunately, however, a silent crisis is growing in San Diego County. The most sobering part is that the drugs are the kind that are legally available as well as sold on the street; prescription drugs. And overdoses related to prescription drug use, including opioids, in 2020 rose to 576 deaths. That’s nearly double the number of overdoses in 2019.
Who Are Most Vulnerable To Overdosing on Prescription Drugs?
According to the Prescription Drug Report Card, men are the most likely to die from an overdose. Out of the 576 overdoses last year, 430 victims were men, and 146 were women.
Prescription drug statistics included opioids, including fentanyl, which has contributed to the most overdose deaths in the nation in the past year.
Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths Are Preventable
Many institutions, including music or arts venues, now keep their supply of naloxone to help reverse overdoses. Naloxone can start working in a matter of minutes, and it’s available from harm reduction organizations and healthcare providers. People who use Medicare or Medi-Cal need a prescription from their doctor for it to be covered. However, some participating pharmacies offer it without a prescription.
The best way to prevent an overdose is to get clean and sober. Staying sober in the long term can help you live your best life. Addiction is a progressive disease, and few people have found recovery without a bit of help.
If you’re addicted to prescription drugs, help is available.
Symptoms of a Prescription Drug Addiction
If somebody you love may have a problem with drugs, you may wonder what the symptoms of a substance use disorder are.
Evidence of misusing prescriptions:
- Powder in bags or on mirrors or hard surfaces. Some people with substance use disorder crush pills and snort them. Some people smoke them or inject them. Needles, plastic bags with residue, and glass pipes with burn marks may be evidence of misusing prescriptions.
- A person “nods out” or is often groggy during the day, even when they get more than 8 hours of sleep. They may slur words or seem drunk if they are shaken awake.
- Hoarding pills from multiple doctors. Evidence of numerous bottles of pills that contain the same prescription.
- A considerable change in their lifestyle; they may avoid all of their family and friends. They may begin to have financial trouble, have trouble keeping a job, or simply seem to have ultimately decided to “opt-out” of their former lifestyle.
- They may try to stop using prescriptions or promise to stop using, only to start again a few days later. This may be due to physical withdrawal symptoms that make it incredibly challenging to get sober without help.
- They may have legal trouble, get DUI’s, or be arrested for forging prescriptions.
- They may steal or mismanage the family finances or have other secrets that alienate them from others.
Getting Help for Addiction in San Diego
If you or somebody you love has a problem with prescription drugs, we’re here to help. Getting sober can seem to be a huge task if you’re addicted to a substance. This is why getting help is important! We’re here to help you get started on the journey to recovery. Give us a call at 619-363-4767.
The pandemic has made life difficult for millions of Americans. Economic depression, lost jobs, and despair alongside the pandemic's isolation have caused more drug use than ever. Sadly, across the United States, fentanyl is causing overdoses at record levels. In San Diego County alone, there are currently three deadly overdoses a day. The opioid crisis hasn't been this bad for four years, and experts worry that addiction is snowballing quietly.
Fentanyl Contaminates Supply Chains
Researchers have sounded an alarm for the past few years about the rise in overdose deaths involving fentanyl. The majority of overdoses now involve the drug, which is 50-100 times as powerful as Morphine. Overdoses that involve fentanyl are usually deadlier because of the potency of the drug.
For people who have an opioid use disorder, there are many risks to take when buying drugs. Regular drug supply chains are strained, and China has outlawed the manufacture of oxycodone (aka Oxycontin) and fentanyl. Because of this, chemists that rely on illicit drug sales have been offering fentanyl either as an adulterant or alternative to other opioids. Chinese drugmakers funnel fentanyl through the Mexico border, and from there, it makes its way into heroin, Oxy, and other street (and internet) drug dealers.
Addiction More Prevalent, Support is Key
Coroners believe that most of the overdoses that they are seeing are accidental. People who have relapsed from recovery are already more likely to use more of a drug than their body can handle. Now, they can fall victim to isolation and a relapse cycle. Some people end up self-medicating their mental health disorders too.
Harm reduction advocates recommend that family members of people with an opioid use disorder or other addiction know the signs of an overdose. Keep Narcan (an opioid overdose reversal drug) in the house. There are even test strips that can help drug users test their supply for fentanyl. Ask to speak to family members you love via video and set up times to check-in.
There IS help available for people who need it. Offer support and love and even help find resources, such as a therapist or inpatient program for substance use disorders.
Getting Help During a Pandemic
Getting help for addiction during a pandemic starts with the same step as always – reaching out! We're here to help you create a new journey and plan your next steps. You're powerless over your addiction, but you can help yourself start a path to recovery.
Give us a call at 619-363-4767 to learn more about your options.