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Fentanyl – Not Just an Opioid Problem – Warns Caron Treatment Centers

Leading Treatment Provider Encourages Communities, Families to Educate Themselves about the Dangers of Adulterated Drugs

Wernersville, PA (December 14, 2021) – Caron Treatment Centers, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment, research, prevention, and addiction medicine education is warning communities and families about fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid, now adulterating everything from cocaine to marijuana, and advising families to educate themselves, amid an increasingly alarming overdose rate.

Last month, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reported an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during 12-month period ending in April 2021, an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the year before, largely attributed to fentanyl.

According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. When people overdose on fentanyl, their breathing can slow or stop. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to a coma and permanent brain damage, and even death.

“What many people don’t realize is that fentanyl is no longer solely associated with heroin. It’s turning up in drugs like cocaine, cannabis, Ecstasy and even black market stimulants and benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium, as well as oxycontin,” said Dr. Joseph Garbely, D.O., Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Medical Research and Education at Caron. “That means there is no casual use of these substances – your first time could literally be your last.”

Caron reports that the number of patients admitting to its treatment facilities after an overdose incident is increasing. In addition, a significant increase in people who do not have an opioid use disorder are being admitted to Caron with fentanyl in their system.

“Tragically, many people are unaware that they’re playing Russian Roulette,” said Dr. Adam Scioli, D.O., Caron’s Medical Director and Head of Psychiatry. “There’s an urgent need to educate individuals and families about these issues and the importance of accessing treatment.”

The doctors emphasize that as more teens and young adults emerge from the pandemic with mental health issues, it’s critical that families discuss the increasing prevalence of fentanyl with adolescents and young adults as part of an ongoing dialogue about healthy coping skills and the dangers of substance use.

They also recommend that people familiarize themselves with naloxone, a medicine that can treat a fentanyl overdose when given right away. It works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors and blocking the effects of opioid drugs. Friends, family, and others in the community can use the nasal spray versions of naloxone to save someone who is overdosing.

“If you’ve suspected someone has overdosed and you don’t know what they’ve taken – the most important step is to call 911 so they can receive immediate medical attention,” said Garbely. “Medical personnel will administer naloxone if they suspect an opioid drug is involved.”

For additional guidance on supporting youth today, please visit Caron’s Education Alliance Resource Kit for parents and youth-serving professionals: https://www.caron.org/education-alliance-resource-kit.

Caron Treatment Centers

Caron Treatment Centers is an internationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment, research, prevention, and addiction medicine education. Headquartered in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, our mission is Recovery for Life. For more than 60 years, we have helped thousands of individuals struggling with substance use disorder and their families begin to manage this chronic, treatable disease. Caron provides a continuum of care for teens, young adults, women, men, and older adults. Caron’s signature programming provides concierge treatment for executives, healthcare professionals, older adults and first responders. In addition to the Pennsylvania campus, Caron provides services in Palm Beach County, Florida, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and New York City. Caron accepts several major insurance plans and provides financial assistance for those who qualify. For more information, please visit caron.org or @CaronTreatment.

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Media Contact:

Karen Pasternack, Senior Director of Media Relations

Caron Treatment Centers

kpasternack@caron.org | 610-413-6938

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