Increasingly, people in California are getting hooked on fentanyl, an opioid that is fifty to one hundred times as strong as Methadone. Some of them inject it while others smoke it. As a result, deaths from fentanyl overdoses have jumped by more than 2,100% in five years, according to the Guardian. Yet, there seems to be a steady influx of the drug.
This is at the same time that hundreds in the state have also ingested fentanyl unwittingly. People have accidentally ingested fentanyl when they believed they were getting cocaine, Oxycontin, or crystal meth.
California Is Investing In Harm Reduction
The state of California set aside money to help fight the influx of fentanyl. In addition, counties and cities are now allowed to use grants earmarked for addiction to invest in harm reduction, such as fentanyl testing strips.
Other harm reduction measures include wide distribution of Naloxone, including a new version meant to counter fentanyl-related overdoses. In addition, the FDA recently approved stronger-dose Naloxone for suspected fentanyl and carfentanil overdoses.
An Influx of Fentanyl to California
There are a lot of illegal drugs trafficked through California. This is because it shares a border with Mexico, where many of the medicines this country sees are trafficked through.
In California, many people who buy fentanyl know what they are getting. They buy it as powder or tablets. Others end up taking it because it’s been added to another drug, such as cocaine, Oxycontin, or even club drugs like molly or Ecstacy.
Cartels add fentanyl to other drugs because it’s typically cheaper than other opioids. They usually add it to pills sold on the streets or the internet. Opioid users often aren’t aware that they’ve gotten the drug, and for less experienced users, it can be deadly. For those that live through the high, however, there’s a strong addiction that can come with it.
California’s Investing In Recovery
San Diego County’s Board of supervisors recently decided to run a pilot program meant to decriminalize and treat mental health disorders, addictions, and other social ills that put people at risk of incarceration. With a new focus on treating substance use disorders, more help may be available for people who struggle with addiction.
Fentanyl addiction isn’t a problem for people who find and can maintain sobriety in recovery. Substance use disorder is a public health challenge that needs all of our resources to solve.
The Society of Addiction Recovery Residences is an alliance of sober homes and addiction professionals. We help set the standards for sober living in California. To learn more about our organization or find a sober house, call us at 619-828-2001.