The fentanyl abuse epidemic is something that Cedric Fernando MD has watched develop over the last few years. This problem has become widespread in many parts of the country and is causing long-term health effects that often primarily affect young people, particularly teens. Understanding its impact on young people is vital for gauging ways to help them recover.
Cedric Fernando MD Examines The Fentanyl Abuse Problem
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid primarily used as a painkiller for extreme situations. For example, Cedric Fernando MD has seen it used to help people recovering from cancer or severe and long-term surgeries. However, this substance is also problematic because it has been prescribed at too-high levels and is causing extreme danger to many people.
This problem occurs because fentanyl is the most potent opiate on the market today. It is 100 times more powerful than traditional morphine and 30-50 times stronger than heroin. Even a dose as small as one-quarter milligram can lead to a fatal overdose. Even worse, this potency makes this substance even more likely to trigger abusive behaviors in people who use it, even when using it properly.
Over the last five years, many cases have emerged showcasing this drug’s potency. For example, the pop star Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose when he believed he was taking a different substance. The Drug Enforcement Agency also reports that one out of every ten teens has reported using pain medications like fentanyl to get high in the last year.
Unfortunately, Cedric Fernando MD has seen many instances in which this experimental abuse has become dangerous and even deadly. For example, in six years, emergency room visits from prescription abuse in children younger than ten jumped by nearly 50%. That higher number has led to a stark increase in overdose deaths and addiction problems in the teen population.
What can be done to help? Cedric Fernando MD reports that prevention is the most essential tool in fighting this problem. Teaching students about the dangers of opiate abuse is critical because it can give them the tools they need to understand this pandemic better. Furthermore, cutting back on fentanyl prescriptions is a vital way to help minimize this potential abuse risk.
Just as importantly, education is important not just for children but for their parents and others in the community. Teaching people that addiction is not a choice but the disease is essential, Cedric Fernando MD says. It will help people feel more comfortable reaching out for help from an addiction treatment center and minimize the risk of dangerously destructive abuse patterns in teens.
He also suggests adapting traditional addiction care treatment to meet teen-based needs, such as discussing peer pressure and other common abuse triggers. In this way, he believes it is possible to decrease the fentanyl pandemic, help fight back against this damaging danger, and restore healthier lifestyles for American teens.