For over a decade, the US has been struggling with an opioid epidemic that has ravaged communities and caused a significant influx in overdose incidents and drug-related deaths all over the country.
While the reasoning behind this substantial increase in opioid-related health issues has been tied to a number of causes – including laxed prescription regulations, inattentive prescribing physicians, lack of community-based services and overall poor planning by a number of communities – the results have been universal: rampant addiction and large scale overdose deaths all around the nation.
Then, as if the opioid crisis itself weren’t severe enough, instances of fentanyl use, abuse and death have started to rise throughout the country, including in California.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 30 to 50 times more potent then heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Due to this increased potency, those already struggling with addiction and exposed to the substance found themselves dealing with unexpected overdose symptoms and overdose deaths because of the strength of the substance.
While these serious health consequences and overdose issues were spreading like wildfire around the nation, California managed to initially stay ahead of the curve, avoiding the large scale health issues and overdose deaths seen everywhere else around the country.
This initial success was attributed to forward thinking treatment providers and increased access to Medicaid for low-income adults around the state.
These proactive approaches and preemptive initiatives enabled first responders and drug users themselves to have increased access to life-saving Narcan, drug test strips to test the substances they were abusing and clinical outreach programs. This all helped to encourage those struggling with addiction to better understand the substances they were putting into their bodies before those substances took effect and killed them.
This approach allowed California to achieve a level of success that no other state had experienced. Unfortunately, California eventually succumbed to the fentanyl crisis, fueling the ongoing opioid epidemic.
The Use of Fentanyl in California is Now its Own Epidemic
The use of fentanyl within the state of California was initially embraced by those abusing drugs as a means of avoiding withdrawal symptoms and dope-sickness through a more cost-effective method of substance use.
By keeping their fentanyl use public, those abusing drugs could purchase the substance willingly and adjust the amount they consumed in order to avoid overdose issues.
However, since the black market is not monitored by the FDA, and illegal drug use is a constant gamble with one’s health and safety, the tide eventually turned, and fentanyl use began to become more commonly connected to overdose incidents and deaths around the state.
By 2016, fentanyl had become the most commonly used drug involved in overdoses, and between 2011 to 2017, fentanyl related deaths quadrupled within the state. This was largely due to the fact that drug dealers began mixing the substance into a wider variety of illegal drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine, while also making it more common to press fentanyl into pill mixes throughout the state.
This increased use resulted in greater exposed to the substance, both knowingly and unknowingly, driving the number of overdose incidents up and causing the number of overdose deaths to surge.
Fentanyl Overdoses and Deaths in California
The number of overdoses related to fentanyl has recently expanded to epidemic proportions within the state. In 2017, there were over 3,000 incidents attributed to opioid overdoses, excluding heroin. While the total number of overdose incidents is historically difficult to pinpoint exactly, it is evident that the increase in fentanyl use within the state is rapidly expanding out of control.
This is made clear with the surge in Fentanyl-related deaths over the last 5 years across the state. From approximately 100 Fentanyl-related deaths in 2014 to nearly 450 in 2017, the uptick in Fentanyl overdose deaths has exploded within California with no signs of slowing.
Murrieta, CA Fentanyl Statistics
Looking into Riverside country alone, the total number of overdose deaths was nearly 150 within 2017. Of those, nearly 20 were directly attributed to fentanyl.
Considering the size of the county in relation to the state, it is evident that the opioid and fentanyl epidemic has reached California and is expanding at an alarming rate within smaller counties around the state, such as within Murrieta.
With the increasing number of Fentanyl users and overdose deaths within the state, it is imperative to continue implementing the current initiatives while also encouraging the expansion of clinically qualified treatment options.
The only way to effectively combat a disease is through clinical interventions aimed at addressing the issue and services trained to support those struggling with the disorder. Treating a substance use disorder requires more than medication.
It takes qualified clinical staff who are trained to help patients overcome their addictive patterns and a safe therapeutic environment to treat them in. Finding a facility like this is the first step in helping your loved one start their recovery journey and begin their path back toward health and happiness.
Life-Changing, Holistic Opioid Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
It is our firm belief at Ranch Creek Recovery that those suffering from addiction can recover from their disease and rebuild abstinent, productive lives. If you have a loved one who is in the grips of an opioid addiction, there is help.
We address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head on through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs. Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with your loved one to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help them feel confident and ready to enter their new, sober life.
Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including our opioid detox and rehab program.
Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today.