Young Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Are Spiking In San Diego County

overdose deaths

Young people in San Diego County, like around the US, have a problem with fentanyl. They’re not using it on purpose but instead are experimenting with drugs that somehow contain it. This is one reason younger people, including teenagers, are now dying at record numbers from overdose deaths.

Fentanyl is a drug typically used for people in severe pain, such as stage 4 cancer. It is also used as a sedative for surgeries. According to the CDC, the drug itself is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin.

And now America has a fentanyl problem – not large amounts of people addicted to it, but large amounts of people dying after accidentally using it.

Fentanyl Overdoses Are Getting Younger

Roneet Lev, an emergency room physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California, told Bloomberg that most of the overdose deaths she’s seen in teens are accidental overdoses. One of her young patients, 14 years old, died from a fentanyl overdose.

“The problem is both supply and demand,” she said. “There’s already a lot of fentanyl coming into our market, and now we have a pandemic where people are isolated and not working, or not in school. These teenagers probably don’t have a substance use disorder, they’re experimenting, making a bad choice, and they end up dead.”

Education And Prevention Efforts

Many cities and nonprofits say that harm reduction is an integral part of tackling the opioid epidemic. After all, many of the young people who are dying don’t even mean to take fentanyl. They often believe they’re taking a pill such as Percocet, Adderall, Ecstacy, etc. It may be the first time they have ever taken a drug at all.

Many law enforcement agencies are trying to get the word out about counterfeit pills and the dangers of fentanyl.

Some nonprofits offer fentanyl testing strips as a harm reduction measure that can test drugs for the presence of fentanyl. Then, the user can decide if they want to take it or flush it. Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, is also available to people who use opioids and other concerned community members. Carrying this drug can help reverse fatal overdoses, but when it’s a drug like fentanyl, reversal may require multiple doses of Narcan.

Staying Sober in Sober Housing

If you or somebody you love needs a safe living space to continue their recovery journey, sober housing may be the answer. We have an excellent, enthusiastic, peaceful environment where you can learn to live life on its terms, substance-free. Call us to learn more about our programs at 760-216-2077.

The addiction crisis is raging in San Diego during the times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many parts of the country, addiction rates have seen an uptick due to isolation and other stressors of the pandemic. San Diego has lost an average of three people a day to overdoses.

In 2020, the County reported 457 fentanyl-related overdose deaths, but not all opioid deaths are from fentanyl, and not all opioid deaths have yet been counted. A total of 722 meth users were lost to an overdose last year, up from 546 the previous year. A large number of prescription drug users – 576 – were lost to overdose as well.

All of these numbers are startling. In recovery, there have been many anecdotes of people with long-term sobriety relapsing. Relapse doesn't have to be a part of your story, even if you're struggling. And even if you DO relapse, you are welcome back to recovery with open arms.

Staying Supported During the Pandemic

Of course, life has been difficult for people of all walks of life during the pandemic. And for most of us, it’s not over. People who live with addiction especially need support during these times. Staying connected to other people in recovery can help you stay sober and sane.

San Diego offers many opportunities for recovery for those who embrace them. 12-step meetings, therapy online, and even peer support groups are incredibly valuable for people in recovery.

Lifesaving Services in San Diego For Drug Users

The Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego County is one example of an organization that uses state grant money to help reduce the harmful dangers of addiction. They offer needle exchange services and the opioid-reversal drug, Narcan, to drug users to help them stay safe.

Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego also offers fentanyl test strips, wound care, education, and referrals for healthcare.

Sober Living Opportunities for Newly Sober

Are you a recovering addict or alcohol looking for a sober living situation that offers recovery and stability? Sober living situations offer structure and independence as you learn to live life on its terms, without substances.

Living with others who have the same goals and similar challenges can help you continue to grow in recovery. Structured support will help you stay centered. You’ll also find community and camaraderie in daily living activities such as cooking, doing chores, or even taking time together to go bike riding or strolling on the beach.

Many people who are looking for aftercare choose sober living as their next step.

Learn more about sober living opportunities by giving us a call at 760-216-2077.

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