Los Angeles, CA – The first step toward solving a problem is admitting it exists, so the first National Fentanyl Awareness Day was definitely a step toward eradicating addiction to, and overdose on, the powerful synthetic opioid. But Muse Treatment, which works on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and has seen the damage fentanyl can do up close, hopes it will only be the first step. Much more is needed to prevent more people from dying from fentanyl.
One of the most addictive drugs today, fentanyl is about 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Drug dealers often mix it into other illegal drugs or sell it outright as heroin; more recently, dealers have begun to press it into pill form and sell it as a counterfeit prescription drug like Oxycontin or Xanax. This explains why fentanyl accounted for a stunning 66 percent of the almost 107,000 drug-overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2021, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In response, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) joined public health, law enforcement, and other organizations in supporting National Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 10. The DEA declared it was promoting the awareness day to save lives by making the public more aware of fentanyl’s dangers. The agency’s efforts in the awareness campaign include adding a special exhibit, “The Faces of Fentanyl,” to its museum. The exhibit commemorates the lives lost from fentanyl poisoning.
“Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a video announcing the agency’s support. “Fentanyl is everywhere. From large metropolitan areas to rural America, no community is safe from this poison. We must take every opportunity to spread the word to prevent the fentanyl-related overdoses claiming scores of American lives every day.”
Milgrim urged viewers to “help save lives by making sure to talk with one's friends and family about the dangers of this deadly drug.”
Muse Treatment applauds these efforts. Increased awareness is critical for prevention, especially when family and friends are enlisted to help loved ones avoid a terrible ordeal like fentanyl addiction. But in the face of tragic facts like the large share of drug-overdose deaths attributed to fentanyl, much more than awareness is needed. Too many families are already painfully aware of this drug’s dangers.
Muse Treatment sees many people struggling with fentanyl dependence and addiction to other drugs that may be laced with fentanyl at its addiction centers in Los Angeles. It is one of many substance use disorders treated in the facilities’ residential and outpatient programs, which include medically supervised detox, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), among others. Far more than just addiction treatment, however, Muse Treatment seeks to find underlying issues that may be the root cause of a person’s addiction. The client may only be self-medicating a condition like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder by abusing drugs or alcohol, essentially the substance use is only a symptom of a deeper problem. If the client achieves sobriety without resolving their deeper issues, it may only be a matter of time before they return to their old coping mechanism of using drugs or alcohol to relieve their depression or anxiety.
After helping so many recovering addicts find hope through its comprehensive programs, Muse Treatment strongly believes that substance abuse must be considered a medical problem, not a criminal matter. One positive sign is a growing movement to end punishment for illegal drug possession. Muse Treatment joins those who believe addicts should get treatment, not jail time, for possessing illicit drugs.
For more information on its comprehensive treatment of alcohol dependence and other substance use disorders, visit Muse Treatment or call (800) 426-1818.
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1251 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024