Ohio has remained one of the most addicted states within the country for years. In fact, the Ohio Department of Health reported that between 2000 and 2015, the death rate in the state caused by unintentional drug poisonings rose by 642%. They also state that at least eight people die each day due to drug overdose. While other states are also experiencing increased rates of drug abuse, Ohio continues to stand out as one of the leaders. As a result, a tremendous amount of attention has been placed on remedying drug abuse in Ohio.
In 2014, House Bill 92 was passed, allowing Ohio to provide syringe services to those who intravenously abuse drugs. Syringe services have remained extremely controversial since then, as many people feel that providing addicts with needles only enables them to use. However, this service was put in place not to enable, but to help do things such as prevent the spread of disease and stop overdoses from occurring. Now, in addition to the syringe service programs, Circle Health Services in Cleveland is providing fentanyl test strips to these locations.
What is a Fentanyl Test Strip?
Fentanyl is easily one of the most popular opioid substances used today. According to Lisa Fair of Circle Health Services, “85-90 percent of the drugs are laced with fentanyl”. Not only do people abuse it in its purest form, but they also abuse it when it is combined with other opioids. In many cases, users are unaware that they are abusing fentanyl because they cannot tell what their opioids have been cut with. As a result, many people overdose extremely easily because they cannot determine what is in their opioids.
However, Circle Health Services is now making it possible for those individuals to know exactly what is in the opioids that they are abusing through the use of test strips.
The test strips are easy to use. Individuals can simply submerge the test in their drug residue to determine if it contains fentanyl. If it does, the user has the choice to not use the substance, use it at a slower pace, or consume less of it so that overdose can be prevented.
Benefits of Fentanyl Test Strips
As stated above, using a fentanyl test strip allows users to know how much if any, fentanyl is in the drugs they are about to use. Giving them the choice to determine how they will use this substance going forward is beneficial as it can prevent an overdose death. Despite the negative stigma, most drug users do not want to die. In fact, they often find themselves trapped within the disease of addiction, and, if they are lucky, can find their way out. However, if they overdose, recovery is no longer a possibility.
Fentanyl test strips also help alert the community of just how much fentanyl is going around in local drugs. Having this information can help people who do not go to any syringe service locations because they use orally be more careful in their use.
Hope for the Future
There is currently no data on just how effective fentanyl test strips are because they have only been used for less than two weeks. However, there is hope that they will be just as effective as syringe service programs.
Since syringe service programs have been up and running, Ohio has seen significant benefits within the state. For example, there are less contaminated needles within communities, blood-borne infection rates related to drug use are down, and there has been less drug-related activity in the state. Additionally, addicts themselves have experienced benefits, such as increased access to the following:
- Drug treatment referral services
- Testing and diagnostic services
- Education about substance abuse
- Communication with hard-to-reach populations
Additionally, millions of dollars have been saved because of these programs, specifically because of how much it has decreased the spread of HIV. In 2015, a study was released that indicated a 70% decreased in newly diagnosed HIV cases over a span of two years within Washington, D.C. Preventing the spread of this particular disease has saved money that can be utilized elsewhere outside of HIV treatment and maintenance.
More About Fentanyl
Fentanyl remains one of the strongest, most potent opioids in the world. Typically used in hospital or outpatient settings to help control pain, fentanyl is effective when taken as prescribed. However, when it is abused, addiction can quickly form, and individuals can be at risk for a number of physical and psychological consequences.
When a fentanyl addiction is present, the following symptoms can develop:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Increased heart rate
- Slowed breathing
- Strong cravings
The longer that the abuse of fentanyl occurs, the more likely addiction will develop. And once addiction has developed, withdrawal symptoms can occur when use stops. These symptoms can be extremely painful and even life-threatening. They can include:
- Physical pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Sweats and chills
- Extreme fatigue
Thankfully, there are treatment options available for those who are addicted to fentanyl.
Treating Fentanyl Addiction
When fentanyl addiction is occurring, taking the step to reach out for help can be the most difficult step to take. However, it can save your life. By reaching out for help, you can receive services that allow you to effectively overcome your addiction to this dangerous opioid.
Because fentanyl is such an invasive drug, many people looking for treatment find themselves in inpatient treatment. There, they will go through the process of detox if indicated. Once detox is completed, they will have the clarity needed to begin participating in therapy sessions such as individual, group, and behavioral therapies. With the help of trained and experienced professionals, individuals can obtain coping skills that enable them to combat the desire to abuse drugs and/or alcohol for a lifetime.
In addition, treatment for fentanyl addiction can help individuals identify and address the underlying issues that either aided in their addiction or develop in response to it.
Get Help Today
Fentanyl addiction can be extremely dangerous if it is allowed to persist. Even if you are going to syringe service programs and using fentanyl test strips, nothing can compare to the benefit of comprehensive addiction treatment. By reaching out for help, you can connect to people who can help guide the way for you so that you can live a life that is happy, healthy, and free from the confines of fentanyl and other opioid addiction.
So, do not let one more day go by without contacting us for help. We can help show you that you are capable of ending your substance abuse and living the life that you deserve.