The Proliferation of Fentanyl in the Bay Area | WRRC

The Proliferation of Fentanyl in the Bay Area

Fentanyl, like many other illegal substances, began as a synthetic opioid developed to alleviate severe pain after serious medical procedures or accidents. Fentanyl’s potency as a pain reliever makes it useful even at low doses. The CDC warned medical personnel, public health agencies, first responders, and others concerning the rising number of fatalities and overdoses caused by fentanyl in the United States.

This blog’s focus is to alert readers to the increasing fentanyl abuse in the bay area.

What Is Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid painkiller, comparable to morphine but 50 to 100 times stronger. It’s a prescription medicine classified as schedule II, often given to people in excruciating pain or recovering from surgery. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid medication that may be given intravenously, applied topically, or consumed orally as lozenges if a doctor recommends it.

Fentanyl, like other opioids, is often taken orally, snorted, or injected, and it exerts its effects by attaching to the body’s opioid receptors. Illicit fentanyl, linked to the current uptick in overdose deaths, is manufactured in underground labs. It is often distributed in tablet form that looks like those of less potent opioids or as a powder that is cut with heroin.

Fentanyl elevates dopamine levels in the brain’s reward regions, leading to a calm, happy high in those who take it. Fentanyl has effects that are similar to heroin.

Fentanyl Abuse Symptoms

Many forms of fentanyl, including pills, sprays, injections, and patches, are easily accessible. Addiction is possible even with medical supervision and brief usage. Fentanyl addicts are more likely to abuse the drug by seeking it out illicitly, taking higher doses, or using it for more than prescribed.

Fentanyl abusers may show signs of agitation and tension if they unexpectedly run out of drugs. They may also switch how it’s administered to boost its efficacy, such as peeling it off a patch, heating it, and injecting it. Get treatment immediately if you or a loved one exhibits any one of the following symptoms of fentanyl addiction.

Addiction can cause noticeable alterations in behavior that can’t be brushed off as transient. The following are some of them:

  •   Acting in an unpredictable manner
  •   Insomnia and listlessness
  •   Neglecting one’s cleanliness
  •   Withdrawing from friends and family
  •   Taking dangers when they aren’t needed
  •   Abrupt shifts in mood

Physical Signs

Misusing prescription medications can have adverse health effects. If someone has acquired a physical reliance on fentanyl, you will see withdrawal symptoms when their dosage is reduced. Opioid withdrawal symptoms might be fatal if you abruptly stop using the medicine.

Fentanyl addiction can manifest itself physically in a variety of ways.

  •   Rapid shallow breathing
  •   Odontoid ulcers
  •   The loss of one’s appetite
  •   Nausea
  •   Pale skin
  •   Symptoms of digestive distress
  •   Drowsiness

Psychological Signs

Fentanyl, like other opioids, may significantly impact mental health because of the chemical imbalance it triggers in the brain. Fentanyl addicts may exhibit symptoms of mental illnesses that manifest in their behavior. 

Some warning signs might be psychological:

  •   Stress and depression
  •   Psychosis
  •   Confusion
  •   Hallucination
  •   negative attitude

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Because of its slightly different molecular composition, fentanyl is more potent than heroin and may be fatal even in minute quantities. Fentanyl can be disguised in other narcotics, such as heroin, so the user is unaware they are even ingesting it. 

Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include:

  •   Low blood pressure
  •   Coma
  •   Cold Skin
  •   Experiencing difficulty breathing
  •   Dizziness
  •   Abnormalities in the pupils
  •   Losing consciousness
  •   Drowsiness

Fentanyl Abuse Rates Rising in the Bay Area

The fentanyl epidemic is devastating communities in the Bay area, and more people are dying from it than ever before. Fatal and nonfatal overdoses have occurred recently among cocaine users who were unwittingly exposed to fentanyl, prompting the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) to issue a health notice.

Since 2015, the number of fatal drug overdoses in San Francisco has skyrocketed, mainly owing to the prevalence of fentanyl in the region’s illegal drug supply. First estimates indicate that fentanyl was responsible for 474 fatalities in the year 2021 in the City of Los Angeles. Fentanyl is often marketed as a powder in San Francisco, and since it may seem similar to stimulants like cocaine, it is sometimes unintentionally ingested by those seeking stimulants.

How Come Fentanyl Is So Dangerous?

Fentanyl is a potent opioid analgesic with an effect of 50 times that of heroin. Opioid receptors are present in the parts of the brain that govern the respiratory rate. Overdosing on any opioid, particularly something as potent as fentanyl, may result in respiratory depression and death.

When combined with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, fentanyl on the street becomes much more dangerous. Fentanyl’s tremendous potency makes opioid overdose very likely, especially if the consumer isn’t aware that a specific tablet or powder includes it. Rapid use of Narcan is essential for reversing Fentanyl overdoses; however, greater doses may be necessary. 

The drug has an extremely low fatal dosage, making it more dangerous than other illegal substances. There is a fentanyl epidemic happening right now in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since its creation in 1959, fentanyl has never been more widely available, more often seized, or responsible for as many documented overdose fatalities as it is currently.

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment At Wellness Retreat Recovery

We can assist if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to fentanyl. Medically aided treatment (MAT) and psychosocial therapy are the cornerstones of care for persons with opioid use disorder. Wellness Retreat Recovery provides individualized residential treatment plans that begin with a safe drug detox in our recovery facility.

Substance use disorders can be treated, and treatment can often save lives. Prevention and education are essential for overdose prevention. 

If fentanyl use has caused physical and psychological dependence, we can help you manage withdrawal symptoms and begin effective healing. There will be opportunities for individual therapy and family therapy, where you’ll be given time and space to address your concerns with a trained professional. You’ll also have the help of a group of supportive people who know a lot about opiate addiction.

If you or a loved one need treatment for fentanyl misuse, don’t delay getting help. To contact Wellness Retreat Recovery, please call 888-738-0692.