Days ago, China has confirmed moves to ban fentanyl (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/02/20/china-s-move-to-ban-fentanyl-could-help-curb-drug-addiction-crisis-in-us.html). While this is a positive step toward curbing addiction in the United States of teen and adult users, some say that there could already be new strains being developed to replace fentanyl. Some experts have implied the drug manufacturers only need to change the overall ingredients by a molecule or minimal difference in order to skirt by state or country regulations. No matter the case, we can continue to expect a large flow of synthetic opioid drugs coming from China and other countries.
You may have read the article recently about Katie Smith’s fentanyl addiction and then recovery (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/fentanyl-drug-addiction-smiths-falls-1.3993478). Her story is similar to the thousands of other teens who are becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs; particularly opioids. You may ask yourself, “why opioids instead of weed or alcohol?” While there are a plethora of different reasons, the simplest may be the ease of which these drugs are available on the streets, in schools, from doctors, at parties, etc. Additionally, the euphoria that Katie and other young users experience is much different that marijuana or alcohol. It’s described as a smooth, relaxing, floating high and one that these young addicted users continue to seek. Not only is the high more “appealing”, these powerful synthetic heroin tablets are also highly addictive. When continuously used, as Katie confirms, she began to take the drug so she wouldn’t get sick. She even went so far as to say that she wouldn’t get high any more because of her tolerance that had been built up from consistent use.
So what is the solution to this crisis happening with teens? This also has multiple answers and really depends on each individual’s situation. For Katie, she was arrested for stealing to feed her drug habit and the judge gave her the option to try a new pilot program or go to jail. She chose the program which involved weekly meetings with other teens struggling with addiction and was also required to submit weekly drug tests. She said the first couple weeks were “hell” as her body fought off the cravings; both physically and mentally. With the support of others going through the same conditions, she’s proud to say she’s been clean for 3 months now and that there is a life after drugs. She says her anxiety is down, her depression is better, she has friends and most importantly, she can do normal things. It’s easy for someone seriously addicted to think all hope is lost. With effort, proper therapy and rehabilitation, there’s hope for even the most severe cases and a new life that brings peace, satisfaction and lasting happiness.