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Fentanyl addiction has become a widespread health issue. The abuse of fentanyl or other drugs impacts millions of individuals and families in the United States. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered . . . We must take every opportunity to spread the word to prevent fentanyl-related overdose death and poisonings from claiming scores of American lives every day.” Fentanyl addiction education is one of the most powerful tools in the fight against substance abuse. The Redpoint Center educates individuals, families, and communities on the importance of early intervention and treatment for substance use disorder (SUD).

What Is Fentanyl Addiction?

Fentanyl is a dangerous, highly addictive synthetic opioid. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed for pain relief and is between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine. Many people who misuse fentanyl abuse other drugs or alcohol. The combination may cause severe illness, injury, or death. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States.”

Prescribed fentanyl is also highly addictive and may lead to SUD. Some pharmaceutical versions of fentanyl include:

  • Actiq
  • Duragesic
  • Sublimaze

Illicit versions of fentanyl are often made with other substances mixed in to stretch the supply. People are often unaware of when other substances have been added and have no way of knowing what may have been mixed in with the fentanyl they buy off the street. The animal tranquilizer xylazine is one of the most common substances added to illegal fentanyl. Overdose deaths caused by combining fentanyl and xylazine are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Xylazine can be life-threatening and is especially dangerous when combined with opioids like fentanyl.”

The Importance of Fentanyl Addiction Education

Educating individuals about the dangers of fentanyl abuse reduces stigmas and makes people more aware of the potential signs of addiction. Adolescents and young adults are especially vulnerable to peer pressure and other risk factors associated with substance abuse. Normalizing conversations about the realities of substance abuse reduces the risk to young people in the community.

Effective drug addiction education does the following:

  • Reduces the risk of overdose
  • Encourages people to seek professional treatment
  • Decreases the risk of relapse after addiction treatment
  • Reduces stigmas by normalizing conversations about mental health and the effects of addiction
  • Protects vulnerable individuals from potential long-term effects of addiction

August 21st is a recognized day for fentanyl addiction awareness. Communities and organizations use the month of August to increase awareness of the dangers posed by fentanyl abuse. The information is often made available year-round online. Individuals who want to educate their friends and family can promote addiction awareness by getting educated and using community-based resources, including self-help groups. Multiple groups exist to support the loved ones of individuals struggling with SUD.

Educating People on Fentanyl Addiction Saves Lives

Fentanyl is a leading cause of overdose deaths in America. Educating people about fentanyl addiction saves lives by raising awareness and ensuring people understand the available treatment options

A few of the ways people reduce the spread of fentanyl addiction include:

  • Hosting interventions for friends or loved ones experiencing substance abuse
  • Educating friends and loved ones about the potential harmful effects of fentanyl addiction
  • Encouraging family and community conversations about mental health and addiction

People are more likely to seek out treatment for fentanyl abuse if they understand the risk factors and possible health side effects.

What Is Narcan?

Narcan, also called Naloxone, is a critical tool in the fight to reduce overdose deaths caused by fentanyl. The drug is used on individuals experiencing an opioid overdose. According to the CDC, “Naloxone quickly reverses an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids . . . Naloxone won’t harm someone if they’re overdosing on drugs other than opioids, so it’s always best to use it if you think someone is overdosing.”

The signs of an opioid overdose include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Discolored skin around the mouth or nails
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Breathing difficulties, including choking, gurgling sounds, or lack of noticeable breathing
  • Completely limp body
  • Loss of consciousness or falling asleep and being unable to wake up

Naloxone is available in every state, and anyone can carry it with them. The friends and family members of individuals experiencing opioid abuse should have the drug on hand to use in the event of a drug overdose.

How Does The Redpoint Center Help Promote Addiction Education?

The Redpoint Center understands the importance of ensuring friends and family are educated about their loved one’s addiction and how they can help. Family engagement in the treatment process often helps people heal more effectively. The programs offered at The Redpoint Center include family support and therapy services. Clients and their loved ones are encouraged to use the information they learn during treatment to educate others in their community.

Fentanyl addiction has the potential to cause severe or life-threatening health issues and side effects. However, many people remain unaware of the potential dangers. In addition, fentanyl is often used alongside other substances, including alcohol or prescription medications, and the combination increases the risk of overdose or death. Individuals experiencing fentanyl addiction benefit from participating in rehabilitation programs. Early intervention and treatment are the best way to avoid an overdose or other life-threatening health issues. The Redpoint Center encourages families to educate themselves and their loved ones on the realities of addiction and the importance of treatment. The care team offers access to local support services and educational resources for families of individuals with SUD. To learn more, call (303) 710-8496.

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The Redpoint Center
1831 Lefthand Cir, Suite H
Longmont, CO 80501

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