On November 1, 2019, the Denver police arrested two men who were later charged for possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute it. During the raid, the police found fentanyl in “brick” form, 134 fentanyl pills and even more heroin and cocaine.
Fentanyl had officially made its way to Colorado.
Three years ago, fentanyl seemed like a distant issue to Colorado households – something that was isolated in the northeastern part of the United States. Today, fentanyl is on the rise in Colorado, leading to increased overdoses and deaths.
In this post, we’ll highlight some of the latest news and statistics about fentanyl use in Colorado. We’ll also provide insights into warnings and symptoms to look out for in your loved one to try to prevent a fentanyl overdose.
The Rise of Fentanyl in Colorado Communities
Finding this two-pound brick of fentanyl in Denver has increased concern and alarm throughout the state because of how dangerous the drug is. This synthetic opioid is 50-100 times more potent than heroin, which means overdoses from the drug happen easier, faster and are much more difficult to reverse.
In 2019, 26 people in Denver died from a fentanyl overdose – up from 17 people who suffered fatal overdoses in 2018. And in El Paso County, fentanyl overdose deaths had doubled in 2019. While these numbers may not seem nearly as bad as overdose deaths from other drugs, it’s the rate they’re increasing at that is so alarming.
It’s also concerning that fentanyl is playing a larger role in the total number of overdose deaths in Colorado. In 2017, the state recorded 600 fatal overdoses. Twenty percent of those deaths were from synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Why is Fentanyl Use Increasing in Colorado?
It isn’t just the strength of the drug that has Colorado law enforcement and health care professionals worried about fentanyl. Rather, it’s how people are consuming the drug.
When someone struggling with opioid addiction is no longer able to secure prescriptions to maintain their drug use, they’ll turn to the streets for stronger drugs like heroin or cocaine.
This leads to the crux of the matter: You don’t know what is in the drugs purchased off the streets.
Law enforcement and needle exchange programs in Colorado have seen more and more heroin and cocaine laced with fentanyl, significantly increasing the risk of lethal overdoses. In these devastating cases, the individual using the drug can’t control the amount they’re taking because they don’t even know they’re consuming fentanyl.
How to Help Prevent Your Loved One from Overdosing on Fentanyl
Fentanyl’s strength and how it’s laced with other drugs can make it incredibly difficult to monitor and control. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost if you’re concerned about your loved one’s health and safety.
If you believe your loved one is suffering from addiction, look out for the following symptoms:
- Slowed breathing
- Unexplained drowsiness
- Increased mellowness
If you notice these symptoms, it’s important that you monitor your loved one’s behaviors and seek medical help right away. It’s also necessary that you stock up on Naloxone and be on the lookout for overdose symptoms like blue lips, shallow breathing, seizures, foaming at the mouth and unresponsiveness.
If your loved one does end up overdosing, administer Naloxone as quickly as possible and call 911. While not a cure, Naloxone may be able to reverse the effects of the overdose and keep your loved one alive long enough for first responders to arrive and take over their care.
Get Your Loved One Opioid Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we understand all too well how dangerous fentanyl is. We also know how scared you are that your loved one will lose their life to an overdose they never even saw coming.
That’s why we offer an evidence-based opioid addiction treatment program designed to help your loved one overcome their addiction. We have over 10 years of experience helping people like your loved one detox from their substance abuse, get to the bottom of their addiction in residential treatment and rebuild their lives in outpatient treatment.
Credible addiction treatment is the best solution your loved one has at lowering their chances of suffering a fatal fentanyl overdose. If you’re ready to get your loved one the life-saving treatment they need, we can help.
To get started, fill out our form or contact us now to get in touch with one of our friendly admissions team members.