Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis: Addiction and Overdose

Fentanyl is a high potency and synthetic opioid causing overdose and death in the United States. This highly addictive, synthetic opioid is 50 to 300 times more potent than morphine, making 2 milligrams of fentanyl a deadly dosage. While it was originally invented to treat severe cancer pain, its illegal use is growing swiftly and leading to rapid respiratory depression and damage of the internal organs, often resulting in death.

Statistics indicate that fentanyl is currently the greatest drug threat in this country. Rates of overdose deaths involving fentanyl have increased drastically over the last few years:

  • Among teenagers, overdose deaths increased 94% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Fentanyl overdose rates are rising 5 times faster than heroin overdoses.
  • Fentanyl is a factor in 53% of overdose deaths nationwide.
  • In 2020 alone, there were 42,700 fentanyl overdose deaths.

Signs of fentanyl use and addiction include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Euphoric or depressed mood
  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech


One Pill Can Kill: All Substance Users Are at Risk of Death by Fentanyl

Fentanyl is often mixed with drugs such as heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine and marijuana as a combination product, and more often than not, fentanyl is added without the drug user’s knowledge. It can also be present in fake prescription pills that look the same as prescription pills sold in a pharmacy. Those seeking to buy Percocet or Xanax from dealers through social media platforms are often given fentanyl instead or in combination with the drug purchased.

The DEA Laboratory has found that, of the fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills analyzed in 2022, 6 in 10 contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. Hence why the DEA has created the “One Pill Can Kill” “campaign. Even just a small dose of fentanyl, such as the amount on the tip of a pencil, can be deadly. Fentanyl overdose and addiction is a threat to all substance users, whether fentanyl is your drug of choice or not.


The Fentanyl Crisis in Southern California

Fentanyl addiction and overdose is greatly impacting those in California, specifically in San Diego County and Los Angeles County:

  • Deaths related to fentanyl in San Diego County have increased 2,375% between 2016 and 2021.
  • Seizures of fentanyl in San Diego are up by approximately 323% in the last three years, from just 1,599 pounds in 2019 to 6,767 in 2021.
  • In Los Angeles County, the number of deaths linked to fentanyl had a 1,280% increase from 2016 to 2021.
  • From Q1 2019 to Q3 2021, fentanyl overdose deaths in California increased by 365%.
  • In California, fentanyl accounted for 44% of all drug overdose deaths in 2020, and 71% of all opioid overdose deaths.

The fentanyl crisis has made it clear that now is the time for treatment for your addiction, whether it be to marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, prescription drugs, another substance or fentanyl itself. Fentanyl is taking lives each day. Don’t let it take yours.


Explore Addiction Treatment at Casa Palmera

If you have come to a crossroads in your life and don’t want to chance it with substances anymore, Casa Palmera can help. Our treatment program offers medically supervised detox, 12-step programming, holistic therapies and evidence-based treatment for addiction — all to help you take control of your life again, rebuild relationships with your loved ones and begin a fulfilling path to recovery. Our caring and supportive staff are here to support you as you navigate and overcome addiction. Our goal is to help you be successful in paving a new course for your life.