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What to Do If You Know Someone Misusing Fentanyl

by HealthCare Resource Centers Clinical Team

Finding out that someone you care about is misusing drugs is always frightening, but certain substances are more dangerous than others. Fentanyl has garnered a lot of negative attention in recent years, and for good reason. This drug is responsible for countless overdose deaths and has caused a huge surge in the already tragic opioid epidemic.

With a drug this potent and deadly, it’s dangerous to ignore the signs of fentanyl misuse. Here’s how you can take action if someone you know is using fentanyl.

What Makes Fentanyl So Dangerous?

First, what is fentanyl? This synthetic opioid can be prescribed as a powerful pain reliever, but more often, it’s produced and distributed illegally. Fentanyl has become a popular street drug due to its potency. Yet, fentanyl’s potency is exactly what makes it dangerous. The drug can be 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin and morphine. It’s so potent that it can stop someone’s breathing within just one minute.

Lack of knowledge about the drug’s strength and the fact that many users take fentanyl-laced pills unknowingly has led to a dramatic increase in fentanyl-related overdose cases. Overdose deaths caused by fentanyl increased over 16% from 2018 to 2019, making it the most common drug in opioid-related deaths in the United States.

Take Bold Action If Someone You Know Is Misusing Fentanyl

The opioid epidemic has taken too many lives. As the number of deaths continues to rise due to fentanyl misuse, you may feel powerless or afraid. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help if someone you know is misusing fentanyl.

Know the First Signs of Fentanyl Misuse

Whether it’s a friend, colleague or neighbor, knowing the signs of opioid addiction and fentanyl misuse specifically will empower you with the knowledge you need to say something. Early signs of addiction can include:

  • Dramatic changes in behavior
  • Changing friend groups
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Avoiding family and friends
  • Forgotten school or work responsibilities
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Seeming overly energetic
  • Depressed, nervous or cranky mood
  • Financial hardship

Don’t Ignore Their Struggle

Depending on how close you are to someone, you may be tempted to turn a blind eye to their struggle with fentanyl. However, addiction is a disease that can quickly spiral out of control if it’s not addressed and treated.

Offer Compassion

If a person in your life is struggling with fentanyl addiction, they are likely also experiencing fear and shame. Knowing that you’re there, that you care and that they’re not alone in their fight against fentanyl addiction may be what it takes to convince this person to seek help. So, take the time to learn more about opioid addiction so that you can offer a compassionate ear.

Explore Treatment Options

Fentanyl addiction is a disease, and it is treatable. Addiction to opioids like fentanyl can be effectively addressed with evidence-based treatment options like medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Medications like methadone and buprenorphine keep withdrawal symptoms and cravings at bay so that patients can focus on addiction counseling and getting their lives back on track.

Contact Us for More Advice

If you know someone trapped in the prison of fentanyl addiction, Health Care Resource Centers can help. We offer life-saving MAT programs, addiction counseling and personalized care to help patients break free from opioid use disorder. If you’re getting ready to speak with someone you know about their fentanyl misuse, we invite you to contact us first to learn more about treatment options.

Medically Reviewed By:

HealthCare Resource Centers Clinical Team

HealthCare Resource Centers Clinical Team

HealthCare Resource Centers Clinical Team

The Clinical Team at HealthCare Resource Centers is our team of physicians and medical directors within the organization. HCRC is a CARF accredited organization and has been providing addiction treatment services for over 32 years in the New England area.

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