Florida is facing a Fentanyl crisis. Opioids, mostly heroin and fentanyl, killed an average of 14 people a day in Florida during the first half of 2016. In May, Gov. Rick Scott declared a public health crisis and an emergency declaration gave him the authorization to spend immediately without legislative approval. The state has also accepted a federal grant for prevention, treatment and recovery services that will total more than $54 million over the next two years.
Let’s take a closer look at Fentanyl, as it killed more people in Florida than any other drug and nearly twice as many than heroin. More than 700 people between January and June 2016 lost their lives to this synthetic opioid.
What is Fentanyl?
As of 2012, fentanyl is the most widely used synthetic opioid in the field of medicine. It is most commonly used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. Typically, fentanyl is a very safe surgical anesthetic when monitored closely; however, its potency requires careful measurements, making it extremely unsafe to administer when deluded, as is done in street use.
Although fentanyl maintains a wide index for medical use, its potency and rapid onset is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, making it a popular street drug. Fentanyl has a similar chemical make-up to heroin; however, due to its strength, it tends to produce significantly more respiratory depression, making it more dangerous and prone to overdose. Illicit drug dealers will often combine heroin and fentanyl together to increase potency or compensate for low-quality heroin.
Fentanyl has been linked to thousands of deaths in the United States and has led to a widespread investigation of both legitimate pharmaceutical markets as well as street markets for the drug—specifically in Rhode Island, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known as Actuq, Durgesic, and Sublimaze. Street names for fentanyl or for fentanyl-laced heroin include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, & Tango and Cash.
How is Fentanyl used?
When used in medical applications, fentanyl is often administered in the form of injection, lozenges, or a transdermal patch. Although some pharmaceutical forms of fentanyl make it into the illicit drug trade, most of the black market forms of fentanyl are non-pharmaceutical and are produced in pop-up or clandestine laboratories. The non-pharmaceutical forms are often sold as a powder, spiked on blotter paper, mixed with or substituted for heroin or sold in tablets that mimic other less powerful opioid drugs. In non-medical use, people usually swallow, snort, inject, or absorb the drug through the mouth.
How does Fentanyl affect the brain?
Fentanyl works the same as heroin and other opioid drugs, amplifying dopamine levels in the brain’s reward center and producing a state of euphoria and relaxation. Overall, fentanyl has similar effects to heroin, including, euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, constipation, increased tolerance, and addiction.
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment in Florida
Fentanyl withdrawal can be an immensely uncomfortable process and symptoms include, nausea, hot and cold chills, physical aches and pains and intense cravings. Professional medical supervision during detoxification can help to ease withdrawal symptoms, curb the intensity of cravings and reduce the chances of relapse.
At JourneyPure Emerald Coast, our trained medical staff is prepared to support you through the detoxification process. We have an expert team of medical doctors, clinicians, psychiatrists, nurses, and mental health technicians available around the clock. Many of those struggling through active addiction report that withdrawal is the biggest obstacle to recovery. Our goal at JourneyPure is to make the detox process as comfortable as possible so our patients can get healthy and stay healthy.