The use of the synthetic opioid fentanyl has been a major contributor to the opioid crisis in Colorado and many other states. Fentanyl is a powerful pain medication that is often used in hospitals and other medical settings, but it is also frequently sold illicitly and can be deadly when taken in high doses. In Colorado, the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths has increased significantly in recent years, and the drug has been a major contributor to the overall increase in opioid overdose deaths in the state.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain medication with a rapid onset and short duration of action. It is a powerful drug that is approximately 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl is used to treat severe pain, such as cancer pain, and is often used in the form of a patch or lozenge. It is also used as a sedative for patients who are receiving mechanical ventilation in a hospital setting.
Fentanyl is highly addictive and can cause physical dependence in people who use it regularly. It is important to use fentanyl only as prescribed by a healthcare provider and to follow the instructions carefully. Overdosing on fentanyl can be deadly.
Understanding the Dangers of Fentanyl
Fentanyl can be extremely dangerous if it is not used properly. It has a high potential for abuse and addiction, and even small amounts can be lethal. Fentanyl can be especially dangerous when it is mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, or when it is sold as a counterfeit drug.
Fentanyl can cause respiratory depression, which means it can slow or stop breathing. This can lead to coma or death. It can also cause dizziness, confusion, and sedation. Long-term use of fentanyl can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped.
If you or someone you know is using fentanyl, it is important to seek medical help and substance use treatment as soon as possible. Fentanyl overdose can be treated with the opioid antagonist naloxone, which can reverse the effects of the drug and potentially save the person’s life.
Fentanyl in Colorado
There are several factors that have contributed to the rise of fentanyl in Colorado. One factor is the availability of the drug on the illicit market. Fentanyl can be produced in illegal laboratories and is often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, to increase their potency. This makes it difficult for users to know how much fentanyl they are taking and increases the risk of overdose.
Another factor is the increased use of prescription opioids, which can serve as a gateway to illicit opioids such as fentanyl. Many people who become addicted to prescription opioids turn to the illicit market when their prescriptions run out or when they can no longer afford them. This can lead to the use of more potent and dangerous drugs like fentanyl.
Efforts to address the fentanyl crisis in Colorado and other states have included efforts to reduce the availability of the drug on the illicit market, increase access to treatment and overdose prevention resources, and educate the public about the dangers of opioid use.
Treating Fentanyl Addiction Holistically
At Flatirons Recovery, we treat treat fentanyl addiction from a holistic lens, with programming including mindfulness, trauma therapy, nutritional counseling, nature-based therapy, acupuncture, integrative medicine, and much more. To learn more about our programs, contact us.