Addiction Treatment Team at Legacy Healing Center Responds to Tampa's Deadly Spike in Overdose Deaths
Fort Lauderdale, Florida -
Tampa, FL - The CDC recently reported a record-breaking number of drug overdose deaths across the US, more than 100,000 from April 2020 to April 2021. This represents a 28.5% increase in overdose fatalities from the previous year, likely caused by the psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the US illegal drug supply.
The epidemic of drug overdose is impacting the entire country but is hitting the Tampa Bay area especially hard. The rate of overdose deaths in Hillsborough County now exceeds annual numbers of traffic-related fatalities, homicides, and suicides. Fentanyl was the most common drug found in overdose victims and many different drugs are now being laced with it, not just heroin.
The opioid epidemic started in the 1990s with a rapid increase in prescribed opioid pain medications. Many people who became addicted to painkillers started using heroin as a cheaper more accessible option. Today, the US is experiencing an alarming increase in fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills being sold on the street and online. These drugs look exactly like prescription pills such as Oxycodone, Xanax, Percocet, and others. There’s no way for users to know whether these drugs are laced with lethal amounts of fentanyl. A lethal dose of fentanyl is just two milligrams, about the size of a few grains of salt. Fentanyl-laced counterfeit prescription drugs are one of the main causes of the increase in overdose deaths in America today. Young people and first-time users may think they’re taking a legitimate pill when they’re actually taking something that can kill on the very first use.
In this climate, it’s important for all Americans to know that an opioid overdose can quickly be reversed with the drug Narcan (naloxone). A life-saving medication, Narcan can treat all types of opioid overdoses, including ones from fentanyl. Narcan needs to be administered on the spot, so anyone using opioid drugs, whether illicit or prescribed by a doctor, should have a supply on hand. Narcan is available at pharmacies without a prescription and comes in an easy-to-use nasal spray. In the event of a suspected overdose, call 911 immediately. If Narcan is on hand it should be administered while waiting for emergency services to arrive. If Narcan is not already on hand, the paramedics who arrive will have it and be able to administer it. Increased access to Narcan through law enforcement, pharmacies, and community-based organizations, has played an important role in reducing drug overdose fatalities.
Better education and greater access to addiction treatment programs are also needed. Effective behavioral health programs that treat addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders exacerbated by the pandemic remain the best way to prevent a fatal drug overdose.
An overdose can happen to anyone, even first-time users, but there are certain risk factors that increase the chances of a drug overdose. One is changes in tolerance that occur from going through a period of not using or using less of a drug, like what happens after being in jail, detox, rehab, or other period of abstinence. Those with poor nutrition, a weakened immune system, heart problems, or other health issues, like HIV, Hepatitis C, smoking, and heavy drinking, are at higher risk for overdose as well.
Mental health disorders are also a major risk factor for addiction and overdose. Those who have gone through an addiction treatment program but have not had underlying mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, addressed, are at higher risk for relapse and overdose.
Legacy Healing Center, an addiction treatment center with locations in South Florida and New Jersey, treats addiction at its source by focusing on the root causes of addictive behaviors. With a combined clinical and holistic approach, Legacy provides proven, effective treatments for addiction, while also treating co-occurring mental health disorders to prevent future relapses. As experts in Drug Rehab in Tampa, contact Legacy for help.
Addiction is a chronic disease that gets worse if left untreated. Anyone struggling with drug addiction in Tampa, or anywhere else, is urged to reach out to learn more about effective treatment options that are available right now. Call (888) 534-2295 to speak with a treatment specialist anytime 24/7 or visit www.legacyhealing.com to learn more.
For more information about Legacy Healing Center Fort Lauderdale, contact the company here:
Legacy Healing Center Fort Lauderdale
1425 W Cypress Creek Rd
Suite 201, Fort Lauderdale Florida 33309