Fentanyl is a strong synthetic opioid. It is prescribed to treat pain, but it is also sold and used illegally for recreational purposes.
With a potency that is 50 to 100 times greater than morphine, fentanyl is both addictive and extremely dangerous.1 In recent years, fentanyl has grown in popularity and several other drugs have been found to be laced with it without the user’s knowledge. For all these reasons, fentanyl is associated with a high risk of overdose.
Fentanyl Abuse in IllinoisSynthetic opioids like fentanyl have played a major role in the nation’s opioid epidemic in more recent years. In particular, the number of drug overdose deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl has spiked drastically. From 2013 to 2018, the number of drug overdose deaths from synthetic opioids went from less than 2 deaths per 100,000 people to 10 deaths per 100,000 people.2 Illinois has seen similar trends.
Already, 80% of drug overdose deaths in Illinois involve opioids, and the number of deaths involving synthetic opioids continues to rise.3 In 2013, the number of synthetic opioid overdoses in Illinois was below 250, but in 2018, this number reached an alarming 1,568 people.3 Even just from 2017 to 2018 alone, the number of Illinois drug overdose deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increased significantly while several other states saw no significant change.4 One of the reasons for this rise in overdoses is likely related to the increased availability of fentanyl in Illinois. The net weight of Illinois drug exhibits containing fentanyl and seized by the Chicago DEA office increased drastically from 3,156 grams in 2015 to 42,782 grams in 2018.5
Solving the ProblemWith so many people dying from fentanyl overdoses in Illinois and the dangerous drug being so widely available, the state needs to take serious action, but unfortunately, there is no single solution.
Part of the problem is the number of people who become addicted to prescription opioids. Over time, they may turn to harder drugs like heroin, which is often laced with fentanyl or even to fentanyl itself. If these people could be placed into opioid addiction treatment in Illinois at the first sign of addiction, then some of these problems may be able to be avoided. After realizing the highly addictive nature of prescription opioids, several states have started to give out fewer prescriptions for these drugs as well. Illinois has a prescription drug monitoring program in place to try and catch signs of doctor shopping and prescription pill abuse early. Those who are suspected of having a problem are then given recommendations for treatment for a pill addiction in Illinois.
There are also some prevention and harm reduction strategies in place to try and help decrease the overall impact of opioids like fentanyl in Illinois. There has even been talk of getting safe injection sites in Illinois to prevent overdoses. Although the state has taken several steps to combat their opioid problem, they still have a long way to go.
At Banyan Heartland, we offer drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Illinois for people with varying degrees of addiction issues. If you or someone you care about is abusing opioids or another drug, get help before it is too late. Overdose is a life-threatening situation that can be avoided.
Call us today at 888-280-4763 to begin the journey to sobriety for yourself or to help your loved one take that first step.