As 2023 Begins, the Fentanyl Crisis Continues in Southern California

In Los Angeles alone, the number of fentanyl overdose deaths increased a stunning 1,280 percent from 2016 to 2021. Even from 2020 to 2021 it increased 31 percent with a total of 1,504 deaths. This doesn’t include the fentanyl overdoses and deaths in Orange County or San Diego County. With such a large increase over the last seven years, many people are wondering when the numbers will go down. While the data from 2022 still needs to be widely studied, 2023 has begun and the fentanyl crisis is in full swing.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller that has become one of the most infamous substances for overdoses and death from them. It is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Forms of the drug were developed as a pain management for cancer patients, but other forms of the drug were used as tranquilizers with large animals. Perhaps the biggest problem is that there are many fake pills created to appear as legitimate pharmaceutical drugs that contain lethal doses of fentanyl. The other elephant in the room is the drugs that are being laced with fentanyl.

Increase in Drugs Laced with Fentanyl

It only takes a casual observer to realize that there has been a large increase in the amount of fentanyl deaths there have been that were accidents. This is because illegal drug traffickers are lacing drugs with fentanyl to make the batch go further. Fentanyl is powerful in small doses and is very addictive. It will bring back users of the product even without realizing there are trace amounts of fentanyl.

It is most infamous for being laced in heroin and cocaine, but now there are examples of other drugs being laced with the opioid. Three students in Santa Monica overdosed on fentanyl after taking what they thought was an ecstasy pill. Pure MDMA would not have caused an overdose in that situation, and there are many more stories like this.

Fentanyl & The Homeless

The fentanyl crisis and the homeless problem are also related. They are intertwined. Many of the people on the streets are addicted to fentanyl. In San Diego, a quarter of the fentanyl deaths recorded by the courts were unhoused people.

Furthermore, there are a lot of heroin addicts who are homeless too. Heroin is being cut with fentanyl because it is cheaper and easier to obtain. Fentanyl is a deadly drug, and while a tolerance can be built to it, the opioid remains a dangerous and often fatal substance. In many ways, the fentanyl and homeless crisis feed off each other. While a lot of homeless people can’t afford expensive drugs, fentanyl is cheap and widespread.

Test Your Drugs

With so many widespread accidents, overdoses, and deaths in Southern California, it’s vital for anyone using drugs recreationally to test them. Getting a fentanyl tester is necessary if you plan on taking just about any recreational drug, but even MDMA, which has seen a revolution and recontextualization of the benefits and drawbacks of the pure chemical. Without advocating drug use, if you are going to take drugs from a dealer and you don’t know where it came from, you should always test your drugs. If there is fentanyl found in the drug, it’s a good idea to skip it.

Seeking Help for Drug Abuse

If you or someone you love is struggling with substances, the safest and most fool-proof way to avoid fentanyl is to stop taking drugs in general. You probably won’t encounter fentanyl if you don’t do drugs. Even if you drink and smoke marijuana, you probably won’t encounter any fentanyl. 

But that also goes for marijuana in states where it is legal and regulated. That’s one of the benefits of legalization. However you cut it up, if you need help for drug addiction in Southern California there is a treatment center near Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and San Diego. You can get the help you need.

The year 2023 is underway and there seems to be no solution provided from governmental leadership on the best way forward concerning the fentanyl crisis. First, it was heroin. Then it was opioids in general. Now it is fentanyl. With such powerful opioid synthetics, a solution to keep people away from the synthetic and keep it out of other drugs—pharmaceutical or not—has still yet to be determined.

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