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Counterfeit Pills And Fentanyl: A Silent Crisis

dual crisis fentanyl pandemic

Fentanyl is a dangerous public health hazard across America, becoming ubiquitous as an additive to street drugs. People who use Molly, crystal meth, and even marijuana may encounter the drug accidentally. Illicit drug users are not always careful, especially those who use drugs they consider "light" or recreational. While fentanyl is everywhere, not everyone who uses illicit drugs knows about it. This means many unsuspecting users risk being killed by the drugs they consume. Sadly, it's happening across the age spectrum, from high school to the elderly.

Fentanyl Overdoses, COVID-19 as Parallel Crises

Since the pandemic's beginning in 2020, more than 165,000 people have died from opioid overdoses. Over a million people have died from COVID-19. Because of this, three years of life expectancy has been lost among Americans collectively.

Now more than ever, fentanyl is a problem. It's become a common additive to street drugs not generally associated with opioids. Many people think they are taking party drugs or even stimulants like cocaine or crystal meth, only to be exposed to a toxic dose of fentanyl. Some of them overdose. Others may become addicted. Fentanyl is a potent drug, 50-100 times stronger than morphine. But it has also become a favorite among opioid users in California, especially in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.

With fentanyl use spiraling out of control, so are the opioid deaths among specific populations. Opioid overdoses among Black and BIPOC adults are increasing disproportionately in some parts of the country. In other parts of the country, such as California and Florida, a more significant proportion of people dying from overdoses are White. And the ages of the overdose victims tend to be younger adults, with almost 60% of OD deaths younger than 45 years old. However, no matter the demographics, it appears that fentanyl is at fault.

Counterfeit Drugs Also Driving Fentanyl OD Trends

Counterfeit pills have become such a problem that Los Angeles has created an entire campaign surrounding counterfeit pills. The slogan for the campaign is "Bad meds kill real people." The campaign aims to educate, prevent, and enforce the law regarding counterfeit pills that could be made from fentanyl.

"The manufacturers of these counterfeit medicines only care about making money at the expense of our most vulnerable communities and community members," Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a press conference this week. "These medicines contain no active pharmaceutical ingredients." Instead, the medications often contain a deadly dose of fentanyl.

Streety drugs that have been found that contain fentanyl include marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, Molly/MDMA, LSD, Adderall, and cocaine.

Preventing Fentanyl Overdoses Is a Community Effort

Harm reduction and making treatment available are essential components of keeping people safe in the community. For example, harm reduction programs can campaign for public spaces such as libraries, community centers, and schools to carry Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal drug.

Recovery is also an option for people who use substances. A treatment program, including Medication-Assisted Treatment, can also help people quit taking risks and get sober for the long term. Sobriety has many advantages for people with substance abuse disorder, including better health and peace of mind.

Sober Living In San Diego

San Diego has a thriving recovery community with many vibrant 12-step meetings. In addition, our sober homes offer community, structure, and a sober lifestyle as you continue your recovery journey. Learn more about our programs by calling us at 760-216-2077.

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