Opiate drug abuse, addiction and overdose has long been a problem in the United States. From the time when Chinese immigrant workers first brought opium into the country in the early 1800s, people have been hooked on the fast, intense pain relief and euphoric high that this drug can produce. By the 1850’s, opium abuse was a problem in the United States.
Scientists seeking to preserve the pain relieving effects of opiate drugs while reducing its potency and addictiveness have long been locked in a terrible cycle that only seems to get worse over time. First there was morphine, which soon proved to be more potent and addictive than its parent drug (opium). Out of this came heroin, which soon proved to be more potent and addictive than its parent drug. Out of this came methadone, which also proved to be more potent and addictive than its parent drug. Still, there are a wide range of prescription opiate drugs that are intended for use in the treatment of chronic and severe pain, and which have each proven to be quite deadly in its own right. Fentanyl is no exception.
Fentanyl has been acknowledged by some as one of the most potent opiate drugs currently in existence. Its effects are of short duration, which means that individuals who are on other opiate medications may also be given a prescription for fentanyl in order to deal with any pain that manages to break through. Like many other opiate medications, fentanyl doses are designed to be slow-releasing, giving the individual a very small, therapeutic dose over a long period of time. Unfortunately, an individual who becomes dependent upon or addicted to opiate drugs will find himself seeking to use these drugs as often as possible in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This means the individual will be using more opiates more frequently, either by taking more than the recommended dose or by crushing up time-release tablets in order to get more of the drug into their system more rapidly. Unfortunately, this opiate abuse can rapidly lead to dangerous and sometimes even fatal overdose symptoms.
Some signs of fentanyl abuse include euphoria, drowsiness, lethargy, mellowness, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, suppressed breathing, constipation, itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, headache, vision problems, depression, hallucinations, bad dreams, insomnia, sweating, shaking, swollen extremities and much more.
Resolving the Problem
When an individual has fallen into fentanyl abuse and addiction, the compulsion to obtain and use more of this drug substance is so strong that the individual is quite literally willing to do anything for it. This means that crimes are regularly committed by fentanyl abusers and addicts who are desperate for the money needed to buy more fentanyl. One could say that the obvious solution is for lawmakers to crack down on fentanyl abuse, perhaps through instituting prescription monitoring programs used by prescribing physicians and pharmacists. One could also say that another obvious solution is for law enforcement officials to crack down harder on fentanyl abuse. However, considering that the individual who is dependent upon or addicted to fentanyl is truly not in control of their own life, it’s safe to say that the best solution is to make treatment more readily available to these individuals.
The purpose of addiction treatment is to help an individual address and resolve the many causes and effects of their addiction, as well as gain the tools they will need to survive well without drugs in the future. An individual who has been inspired and given the tools to live a healthy and productive future is less likely to return to fentanyl use again in the future, or contribute to the growing trend of crimes related to fentanyl abuse and addiction.