The Rising Risk of Fentanyl and the Road to Recovery

A person addicted to fentanyl sitting barefoot on the street represents the rising risk of fentanyl and the long road to recovery.

According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose-related deaths stemming from the misuse and abuse of opioids have been on the rise in America since 1999. In a separate study published by USA Today, fentanyl, along with other synthetic opioids, claimed the lives of over 32,000 people in America in 2018.

Developed in 1959 and introduced in the United States in the 1960s, fentanyl is a Schedule II drug that is often prescribed to individuals struggling with chronic pain related to things like cancer or end-stage renal disease. It is also commonly prescribed to help individuals cope with pain post-surgery. When taken as directed, fentanyl is an effective way to treat severe pain; however, when the medication is misused or abused, the consequences can be devastating.

Seeking Help for an Addiction to Fentanyl

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to fentanyl, a licensed rehab facility can be the key to getting the medical and psychological help needed to overcome addiction. Rehab facilities provide patients with access to physicians, counselors, and addiction experts that can ease the journey through detox. There are many withdrawal symptoms that are commonly associated with detoxing from fentanyl. These include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Arrhythmias
  • Fevers
  • Chills

Most inpatient programs for those struggling with opioid addiction last anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

How to Maintain Your Sobriety

After rehab, maintaining sobriety can prove challenging. According to a study published by Psychology Today, 70 to 90 percent of individuals who complete rehab relapse. Integrating back into normal every-day life can be difficult. Here are some tips that can help those recovering from addiction stay sober in social situations outside of rehabilitation:

Avoid alcohol – Alcohol can serve as a pathway to harder substances. An easy way to avoid alcohol is to enjoy mock cocktails or mocktails. These are creative and complex beverages designed to look and taste like their alcoholic counterparts, while remaining non-alcoholic.

Host the Party – Hosting a party allows you to plan the festivities. Being a host makes you responsible for the entertainment, food and drinks, and games that take place. Being able to put your own spin on a party can take the pressure off and result in a fun time that is free of substances.

Meet New Friends – One way to break old habits is to start new ones. By breaking toxic relationships and starting new ones, you can start to introduce healthy relationships into your life. Maintaining a sober lifestyle is much easier when you have friends that enjoy the same sober lifestyle that you do.

A fentanyl addiction is a very hard thing to overcome. It can have a profound impact on an individual’s life. Enrolling in a licensed rehab facility and establishing healthy habits outside of rehab can greatly influence the path to recovery.