Fentanyl: Shocking Headlines Every Day

Fentanyl: Shocking Headlines Every DayBetween May 2020 and April 2021 in the U.S., more than 100,000 fatal drug overdoses were reported.  Of those, 64% were due to synthetic opioids including fentanyl and its analogs.  

The reason for many of the deaths is that people did not realize they had consumed fentanyl.  It is routinely used to cut illicit street drugs, but the buyer isn’t aware of the fact.  Because heroin and fentanyl look alike, it’s easy to deceive buyers.

Almost any drug can contain fentanyl including cocaine, fake prescription pills, heroin, and others.  The Illicit fentanyl produced in clandestine labs is less pure than the pharmaceutical version of the drug.   As such, it has changed the illicit drug market and subjected users to greater overdose risk.

Design for Change Recovery is deeply concerned with current overdose rates involving fentanyl.  We reach out to anyone who is struggling with illicit drug use to please contact us today for treatment.  Our goal is to reduce addictions and overdoses by assisting people in finding their path to recovery.

What Makes Fentanyl So Deadly?

Fentanyl is manufactured in a lab and was developed as a painkiller that is 50 times more potent than heroin, and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the CDC.  However, the chemical structure of the drug makes it easy to modify into illicit compounds that are even more potent.  

Newly Emerging Fentanyl Stories Reveal Shocking Truths 

We often look at statistics and see only numbers. So, let’s look at some recent news reports to get a real sense of the impact fentanyl has on American lives.

⏩  New York Times:

“Fentanyl Tainted Pills Cause Drug Fatalities Among Youth to Soar”

In this report, you’ll learn how teens and young adults use social media to find Percocet, Xanax, and other drugs.  About 90% of the drugs they obtain are laced with deadly doses of fentanyl. The rates of illicit prescription drug use are highest among people in the 18 to 25 age group.  

The reporter talks about a 20-year-old man who collapsed and died in a bathroom at a retail establishment.  His cell phone revealed that he had bought Percocet through a dealer on Snapchat.  Tests showed that the drug was laced with a lethal amount of fentanyl.

⏩  Army Times:

“Man Indicted in Fentanyl Overdoses of West Point Cadets on Spring Break”

This story tells about a 21-year-old who was indicted for selling fentanyl-laced cocaine to six spring-breakers.  Four of them overdosed.  Two of the four were put on ventilators, and the other two went into immediate cardiac arrest. The person responsible for selling the drugs was caught after attempting to sell 44 grams of cocaine to an undercover officer.  

⏩  Los Angeles Times:

“California Families Who Lost Loved Ones to Fentanyl-Laced Drugs Press Lawmakers to Act”

After finding his 20-year-old daughter dead in her bedroom, this father is taking a stand.  His daughter became another victim of fentanyl poisoning after taking a fake oxycodone pill.  Since then, the father has launched a group called Drug Induced Homicide.  The goal is to lobby for legislation that will make it easier to prosecute and convict drug sellers.

Many of the children were straight-A students or star athletes. One was a 22-year-old who was scheduled to graduate in the spring.  He was found dead in his fraternity house bedroom a few weeks before.  Messages on his phone revealed he intended to buy Percocet.  First responders report that he died within 30 minutes of ingesting the pill.

The parents who joined this group also lost their children to fentanyl-laced drugs such as Oxycontin and Xanax.  They hope to silence the stigma surrounding drug deaths. 

⏩   CBS News:

“Riverside School Employee Arrested for Giving Students Fentanyl”

A school bus driver was arrested for providing fentanyl to students.  One of the students died from a fentanyl overdose.  Police searched the bus driver’s home and found 100 fentanyl pills, among other paraphernalia.  

Another person involved in this case was found guilty of selling narcotics to minors and having a firearm on a school campus. This is a good reminder to parents that no matter where their children go, they are at risk.

The above stories are only a few among the many thousands taking place across the U.S. daily.  No city or small town is exempt from fentanyl-related deaths and crime.

Will Fentanyl Test Strips Help Save Lives?

Researchers found that many people who inject drugs are interested in being able to check for fentanyl.  Of those interviewed, about 84% were concerned about fentanyl, and 86% said they would use fentanyl test strips (FTS).

The test strips are proven to accurately detect fentanyl and two of its analogs. However, they don’t measure the potency or quantity of the drug.  Although fentanyl test strips have a controversial reputation, they can save lives.

When using a test strip, drug users have information that may help them make better choices.  If fentanyl is present, they can choose not to use the batch or to make sure naloxone is nearby.  

Fentanyl test strips are low cost, and easy to use, but they are not widely available.  They can be found at harm-reduction sites or through distributors online.  

According to a CDC Health Advisory Statement:

“We need to improve the detection of overdose outbreaks due to fentanyl, novel psychoactive substances (e.g., fentanyl analogs), or other drugs to facilitate an effective response.” 

They advise harm-reduction organizations to implementdrug checking services and drug supply surveillance in line with applicable state and local laws.”

Harm-reduction strategies are subjected to the stigma that FTS will lead to increased substance use. A similar argument is made regarding the use of naloxone or other overdose-reversing drugs.  

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment at Design for Change Recovery

The possibility of ingesting fentanyl is high because it is easily disguised.  Someone using other drugs is at increased risk of unknowingly being exposed to the drug.  The best option for avoiding fentanyl and its dangerous effects is to stop using any illicit substance.  Here at Design for Change, we can help you do that.

Design for Change Recovery offers an evidence-based, customized treatment program tailored to the unique challenges associated with fentanyl addiction and recovery.  Our programs are unlike others because we focus on healing the whole person, not just their addiction. 

Our comprehensive curriculum allows clients the opportunity to learn skills and strategies for avoiding drug use in the future.  It includes onsite detox, counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and an aftercare program.  

We believe recovery is easier when clients are comfortable, feel secure, and are treated with compassion and respect.  With our support, guidance, and expertise, you too can overcome fentanyl addiction.  Contact our Lancaster, CA facility today to learn more about our program.


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