Author Archives: echorecovery

Art in Recovery: Laura Mechling Revisits Roots, Gets Personal

Artist: Laura Mechling and her Mom


Artist: Laura Mechling

Instagram: @lalala____scribbles

Medium/Style: Pen & Ink, Simple Lines, Black on White, mixed media and collage work


Not everyone is an artist, or so it is that many people believe. True art, not only lies in the beholder, but is also a direct manifestation of each person’s authentic self. What we, as humans, can keep emotionally hidden will often cry out through detailed etchings and the brush strokes of time. Our painful truth and resolve come to life through art in recovery.

Why Laura Mechling

This is a featured interview on artist Laura Mechling. Although she is not in recovery her works are inspired by those close to her, friends and family who fight the disease of addiction every day. Mechling is a voice for many aspiring artists yet to be discovered, until they find themselves doing art in rehab. One of the many benefits of artistic expression during addiction treatment is the reconnection with the subconscious self.

Laura - Art in Recovery

Pushing Beyond Fear during Art Therapy

I would tell someone not to be intimidated to try something new,” Mechling mused during our interview. “I think people are scared of the unknown because we never know the outcome of taking risks. Testing out a new form of expression might allow room for growth and a sense of awareness of themselves and others,” she continued.

She also draws a correlation between creating art in rehab and the recovery process as a whole. Mechling explained, “Many people would rather stay in their comfort zone of living in old habits, however, allowing themselves the time to work through the process, there comes the opportunity for awareness on the other side.”

Greater awareness is one of the many aspects that can be both alarming and restorative to a person in recovery. In fact, it’s one of the essential life skills that support healthier decision-making during sober living.

Laura - Art Therapy

Inspiring Imagery Creates Healing in Others

Using visualization is a key component of the practice of mindfulness, a valued resource for those seeking ongoing and consistent refuge from the negativity that permeates the world. Mechling delivers visualization of thought in the places she’s been, the people she’s spoken with, and the moments that defy logic. To her, there’s beauty in them all.

Her mind’s eye is shared through articulate expressions through pen and ink, simple lines, black on white, mixed media and collage work.

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” Henri Matisse

Although art is meant to be seen and savored, for the artist it is merely an outpouring of either emotional release or thoughts channeled from a source unknown. Artists, like other creatives such as writers and musicians, can attest to their work as coming from divine intervention or another world.

Mechling reflected back on her earliest memories as an aspiring artist, and cites a special person near and dear to her as being a source of inspiration and support. “My mother was an art teacher and she would have mixed media available and allow me and my siblings to experiment at the kitchen table. But art really hit me in high school. I used all my free time to be in the art rooms.”

Our lady of Guadalupe (acrylic on velvet)

Drawing from Personal Experiences Is Artful

In order to get real with your art, you have to get to a place where “freedom of expression” comes from the soul, not your intellect. Mechling provides some of her favorite aspects of being in that sacred space of creating.

Art has always been an escape for me. I love the idea of creating something out of nothing.

When asked about a particular time in her life, when intention and focal points of her work had shifted, Mechling’s excitement was hard to contain. “I would say that my passion for art became strongest within the past seven years or so. I started looking at the world in a new light.”

This new light that Mechling mentioned is something that artists in recovery describe often as the metamorphosis of their healing.

Benefits of Artistic Expression during Addiction Treatment

Although Mechling is not a person in recovery, her message to those who are is resounding and parallels many of the reasons why more and more addiction treatment programs offer art therapy as a method for greater healing.

Once a person begins the recovery process, it can be likened to starting life over. It takes time, patience, and perseverance to remove old, self-destructive habits and replace them with newer, healthier ones.

Discovering how life feels again can be frightening and invigorating all at the same time. As emotions sway from one end of the spectrum to another, having the ability to find balance and inner peace is important. Art in recovery helps people find that balance while cultivating personal tranquility.

Laura - Art Therapy for Addiction

The Eight Ways to Reclaim Your Life through Art Therapy

In addition to the personal enjoyment that one gets by using charcoal, ink, watercolors or oil paint, clay, metal or other materials for the creation of art, the breadth of wellness it brings is astounding.

Art in Recovery provides:

  • Self-reflection
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-discovery
  • Emotional healing
  • Personal breakthroughs
  • Visual communication
  • Positive outlet
  • Relapse prevention

Using art to understand human emotion has been in practice for decades. Many years ago, psychologists and psychiatrists used art therapy in patients who were too young to verbally express their feelings. Known as incident drawing, children could draw pictures that would tell their story of trauma inflicted on them or someone close to them.

For the treatment of substance addiction, art therapy has a similar process from program to program and from person to person. It is in the details of the individual experience that decrees the differences.

Mechling Talks about Her Recent Change in Process

How inspiration comes is often hard to explain in words, though Mechling had no trouble revealing how it comes to be for her.

“I would have experiences and get a desire to recreate a moment on paper or draw a character from an interaction I had earlier that day. I can look at nature and take the pictures in my mind home with me and draw the memories in my own style.” She added, “I am fascinated with the ways children interact with the world around them. I am always thinking of ways I can draw the cycles of life and nature.”

Her strong connection with the human experience blossomed, redirecting her talent to Mother Earth. “This summer I have actually had a shift in my message that I want to convey as an artist,” she recalled attending two retreats, one in the mountains of Colorado and the other in Louisiana. “I now have a desire to create more authentic work that shows the beauty in nature as well as religious-inspired artwork. I feel that I am somewhat going back to the innocence of my childhood roots.”

Bird in Starry Night (acrylic on tree bark)

Get Up Close to Mechling Works of Art at the ECHO Recovery Art Show

Valentine (Acrylic on canvas)

To further showcase the importance of art therapy, ECHO Recovery is proud to continue this Art in Recovery blog series, featuring aspiring artists who found inspiration and recovery through art or who are inspired by those in recovery.

You too can support our featured artists and others by joining us for the first annual ECHO Recovery Art Show and Open Mic Night this November at the Bel Air Armory. There you’ll find a wide array of artwork to admire and purchase.

If you’re musically inclined, here’s your chance to participate in the Open Mic and share your singing, instrumentals, or poetry in motion. Just an art and music admirer? Attend and help make a difference to the addiction recovery community.

Why We Support Art in Addiction Recovery

Art Show

Event Date and Time: Sat, November 23, 2019 at 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

Location: Bel Air Armory 37 North Main Street Bel Air, MD 21014

Artists Sign Up: Register to display and sell your work. 30 spaces available $35 Fee for about 10×10 space* *tables for displays available upon request

Musicians Open Mic Sign Up: Day of Event Short run time performances only

Tickets: $5 Donation**, children under 10 years old are FREE **Proceeds will be going to ECHO Recovery for 1st week sober living scholarships.
There will also be snacks, drinks available for sale. Your ticket helps Bel Air’s local Artists and the Recovery Community

Purchase Tickets to The ECHO Recovery Art Show and Open Mic Night

Come support Bel Air’s local Artists and the Recovery Community. Together we can make a difference.

Art in Recovery

Why We Support Art in Addiction Recovery

Carrie shares her personal story about growing up with an alcoholic mother:

“I never thought of my mother as an artist. In fact, it was the family on my father’s side that always comprised the creative individuals of my name’s sake. Until I visited my mom while she was doing a 30-day rehab stint some years ago and she shared her paintings with me. Then I realized there was a whole different side of her that I never knew. But the discovery went much deeper than that.”

“Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” – Stephen Sondheim, American composer

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If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction or are living with someone who does, life has undoubtedly become unmanageable. Chaos can dictate daily decisions and define the new norm. Life, and its unpredictability, even for those without substance abuse issues, can bring about self-defeating thoughts and harmful actions.

Art and Mental Health

In today’s society, there is a heightened risk of mental health decay due to the onslaught of negative social impressions. For those who want to remove drug and alcohol dependency from their lives will find that, even after treatment, maintaining mental health and avoiding the triggers that disrupt it is an ongoing task.

Never has it been more important to quiet the mind and reconnect personal spirit to every soul. This too, is a necessary component to achieving humanity’s balance, individually and collectively.

For those working on sobriety, art, in all its forms, proves to be the sanctity needed in an unscrupulous and impersonal world. A way to reconnect with old passions or even discover new talents they didn’t even know they had.

Addiction Can Happen to Anyone

Many people who have been caught up in drug or alcohol abuse have self-medicated to forget their pain, or, at the very least, numb its impact. Others’ addiction may have been circumstantial. For example, athletes after injury or anyone who had undergone surgery were prescribed opioids to relieve pain. We now know that opioid addiction can occur in as little as five days of use. No matter how a person develops a substance use disorder, there are similar results embedded in the process affecting each victim of the disease.

People

Emotional Response and Rescue

Over time and ongoing toxicity from drug and alcohol intake, emotional balance declines. During active addiction, as well as during the withdrawal process, the body and the brain are desperately trying to reset to homeostasis. But without a proper drug detox and ongoing treatment, it’s a losing battle.

People under the influence on a consistent basis will enact inappropriate responses to their environment and social situations. Mood swings, erratic behaviors, and impulsivity are common. Anxiety, depression, and reactive moments are routine and can escalate into post-traumatic-stress disorder.

All of the above are repercussions from the misappropriation of the human “fight or flight” response that drug and alcohol addiction hijacks. As such, an individual can easily overreact to an everyday situation, compounding their problem and making it near impossible for social interaction and the ability to forge healthy relationships. Exercising creative expression through art in recovery is a non-invasive way to put emotions back into place.

Art in Recovery - Painting

Self-Expression in Art Eases the Effects of Trauma

If you were to take a cross-section of people in addiction treatment and pinpoint the exact root cause for their affliction, the majority could site prior trauma as the instigator for use.

Painting

Through recovery, clients learn how to access their emotions and get more comfortable with them. From there, understanding the why about emotional responses helps to better moderate and manage them when they arise. It’s often a painful and challenging process that fuels negativity and the resurgence of agonizing memories.

Even with effective traditional therapies, addiction recovery will often leave people with mental health conditions that hamper the ability to relax and focus.

By introducing art in recovery, each person can take a mental break from the racing and irrational thoughts that present each day and put emotions in neutral. Through a paint brush, ink pen, charcoal pencil or the gentle maneuvering of clay, art becomes the expression of emotions that words cannot explain. In essence, art in process does the talking without speaking a word.

The Inner Voice Needs a Healthy Outlet

People, at our core, are made of energy. Some of us naturally have more energy than others. Endurance athletes are a prime example; stage performers carry similar characteristics. After addiction has taken hold of a person, the connection between owning personal emotions and then communicating them to others is lost. Without a way to deal with emotions, mental health is always in flux and at the mercy of what a person can control or not.

Considering that life is full of the unexpected, having an outlet for emotional expression and an overabundance of energy is vital to overall wellness and avoiding potential triggers for drug relapse.

Art in recovery provides the resource in revealing one’s inner voice, and so much more.

Discovering Hidden Talents Can Heal

“Her paintings were simple but complex.” Carrie continues, “Looking back on my mother’s art in her own recovery, I believe it was truly representative of who she was as a person and why she was misunderstood. Her relationship with my father was based on her enabling his behaviors, much to the detriment of her self-esteem, personal worth, and the blossoming of any aspirations she may have held.

She was the support network for everyone else. Creativity was left to my father and his work. Mom was never given the opportunity to be heard through artistic self-expression. Until time in addiction rehab for a co-occurring disorder opened the door for her. Seeing her visual impressions on canvass in watercolors that blended haphazardly from left to right, it was bittersweet. I was happy to see her, the artist I never knew existed, yet sad that so much time had lapsed in her life before it came to fruition.”

Art Therapy Encourages Sharing and Expression

Art therapy for addiction treatment is done in a group setting where clients can learn to focus on their work while in the presence of others.

Music therapy provides people, even former musicians, time to rekindle their passion for play that took a back seat to drug abuse or alcohol addiction. Art therapy is more than an emotional outlet; it’s a manifestation of a person’s inner being. There’s beauty in that, and often inspires a person to delve further into their artistry, while helping others step outside of the fear of judgment to begin exploring art therapy for themselves.

sculpting

Why Addiction Treatment Includes Art

There is science behind the inclusion of art during drug rehab and alcohol addiction treatment. An article in Psychology Today points to the following benefits of art therapy that align with human needs during the recovery process:

  • Self-expression and learning how to just let life flow
  • No judgment or shame
  • Reconnecting with self, regulating emotions
  • Providing purpose while coping with loss
  • Helps with socialization and promotes playfulness
  • Empowers other abilities
  • Allows personal healing and shared healing

ECHO Recovery Supports Artists in Recovery

There’s a saying that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. If art is an extension of the artist, then art is beauty in its honesty.

ECHO Recovery advocates for those who need help in treatment and beyond. That’s why we have decided to hold our first, annual ECHO Recovery Art Show and Open Mic Night this November at the Bel Air Armory.

Art Show

Open to the public, the ECHO Art Show will have a diverse display of artwork to view and purchase.

Open mic – If you would like to highlight your talent musically come take the stage for a small timeframe singing, instrumental, poetry… there will be a sign up on Event day.

Are you an artist? Sign up to display your work and sell your work. We will have 30 spaces available for artists $35 Fee for about 10×10 space, tables for displays available upon request.

The Public Entrance Fee is a $5 Donation, children under 10 years old are free. Proceeds will be going to ECHO Recovery for 1st week sober living scholarships. There will also be snacks, drinks available for sale.

Event Date and Time:

Sat, November 23, 2019 at 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

Location:

Bel Air Armory 37 North Main Street Bel Air, MD 21014

Tickets:

Purchase Tickets to The ECHO Recovery Art Show and Open Mic Night

 

Come support Bel Air’s local Artists and the Recovery Community. Together we can make a difference.

 

The Link Between Addiction, Depression, And Suicide

The Link Between Addiction, Depression, And Suicide

Suicide is a major issue in the United States, and one of the leading causes of death among young adults. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States overall and the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 34 in 2016. Approximately 45,000 people died from suicide in 2016 within the United States. Certain risk factors exacerbate suicidal thoughts and ideation among young people – and depression and addiction are at the top of the list.

Major Risk Factors For Suicidal Ideation

Major Risk Factors When someone makes the decision to commit suicide, they do not do so at random. Years of trauma can contribute to suicidal ideation, as well as abusing drugs and alcohol. Feelings of extreme sadness, pain, and trauma often push a person to take this action, much to the grief of their friends and family. While many people may think about suicide throughout their lives, certain risk factors and occurrences can increase someone’s chance of committing suicide.

Substance abuse is a major risk factor for suicide, especially if the person is also experiencing other mental disorders such as:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Other personality disorders

In addition, stressful life events can push someone into committing suicide. Poor social support, loneliness, isolation, and feelings of hopelessness also increase a person’s risk of suicide. In addition, a history of childhood abuse, chronic pain, and prior suicidal behavior are risk factors for suicidal ideation. Feelings of aggression and impulsivity can lead others to act upon their suicidal thoughts.

Substance abuse can seriously impact a person’s life, leading to the stressful life events and feelings of isolation and loneliness that can exacerbate suicidal ideation. Relationships can crumble and people who suffer from addiction can isolate themselves from other people in order to use drugs and alcohol. Addiction can also increase instances of aggression, impulsive decisions, and chronic pain. Many people use drugs and alcohol to cope from traumatizing events in their past – making them susceptible to suicide.

How To Identify Suicide Warning Signs

Suicidal ideation does not exist in a bubble, especially if someone you know is suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Each person who experiences suicidal ideation will express their feelings in a different way. Some people may exhibit no warning signs at all, while others will show some of the classic signs of suicide.

However, if you notice that someone you love is exhibiting any of the following warning signs of suicide, you should not ignore them.

  • Exhibiting extremely anxious or agitated behavior
  • Using heavy amounts of alcohol and drugs
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Isolating themselves from friends and family
  • Not participating in hobbies and other activities that they previously enjoyed
  • Expressing a desire to die or an interest in death
  • Engaging in reckless, dangerous behavior
  • Engaging in self-deprecating and self-critical talk
  • Suffering from insomnia
  • Exhibiting extreme irritability
  • A sudden, sharp decrease in their work and academic performance
  • Suddenly giving away personal and sentimental belongings
  • Evidence of self-harm on their body, such as cuts or burn marks

How To Help Someone Who Is Addicted And Suicidal

Helping someone who is struggling from addiction, depression, and suicidal ideation is not an easy task. Offering to help them seek treatment may feel like an attack or confrontation, while leaving them alone could increase their feelings of isolation. The best way to approach someone who is suffering from suicidal ideation and addiction is in a calm, measured, and prepared manner.

Pay attention to the warning signs that make you think they may be thinking about suicide. What is different about their behavior, actions, and overall persona? Has there been a sudden change after a traumatic event, or have you seen them gradually get worse over time? Knowing the reasons why you want to help them will aid you in your approach.

Approach your loved one calmly and with a great deal of care. Tell them that you are there for them, and they can tell you about whatever is on their mind. When someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts and addiction, they can feel trapped in their own thoughts and fall away from reality. By expressing their thoughts and feelings to you, they can bring themselves closer to reality. In addition, knowing exactly what is on their mind can help you make better decisions on how to help them. Remind your loved one that their life matters, that you care about them, and you want to help.

Offer to help your loved one contact a professional and seek psychiatric treatment. They may refuse to seek treatment for a number of reasons, including guilt, shame, and embarrassment. If you believe they need treatment, contact the professionals on their behalf. Accompany your loved one to the hospital and any treatment programs they may attend, and spend time with them. By establishing yourself as a consistent presence in their life, you can become a source of strength and someone to rely on – which a person who is struggling with addiction and suicidal thoughts needs to survive.

Seek Help For Addiction Today

Although addiction and depression can exacerbate suicidal thoughts and actions, help is available. Certain protective factors can reduce suicidal ideation in people struggling from addiction, and the first step is to seek professional help through a drug and alcohol treatment program. The following factors can reduce suicidal ideation in young adults struggling with addiction:

  • Being clean and sober from drugs and alcohol
  • Attending regular substance abuse support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs
  • Receiving mental health care from a trusted counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist
  • Identifying reasons for living
  • Believing in a higher power and adopting spiritual beliefs
  • Having stable relationships and responsibilities, such as employment and parenthood

You can achieve many of these protective factors by attending a drug and alcohol treatment program. If you are struggling with addiction anywhere in the United States, you are not alone. This issue impacts millions of people across the country. Help is available to aid you in reducing your dependency on the substance, manage withdrawal symptoms, and begin the path to recovery.

Seek treatment at a professional drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility as soon as possible. For additional resources on managing addiction and recovery, visit Echo Recovery today.

Addiction And Sleep Disorders: A Common Struggle

Addiction And Sleep Disorders: A Common Struggle

If you are recovering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol, you know that the road to recovery is full of challenges. You have to manage cravings, stave off relapses, handle withdrawal symptoms, and rebuild relationships, among many other tasks. However, one of the most common and most stressful issues that people in recovery face is sleep disorders. Not being able to sleep can heighten your chances of relapse and make recovery even more difficult – but there are strategies you can use to manage your sleep and get the rest you need.

What Happens To Your Sleep In Recovery?

According to the Journal of Addiction Medicine, people in recovery are 5 times more likely to suffer from insomnia than the general population. People in recovery are mainly at risk for these sleep disorders because of the complex psychological issues that occur when coming off of a substance, especially if you used this substance to help you fall asleep in the past. Sleep disorders can range during recovery – you may only deal with them during the withdrawal period, or you can keep experiencing them for weeks, months, or even years after recovery.

When it comes to addiction, you can experience long-lasting effects that impact your physical and mental health. Anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions contribute to insomnia – and these issues are also common side effects during the recovery process. Unfortunately, sleep disorders can also feed into the risk of relapse, making recovery even more difficult.

First, you may have used the substance you are recovering from to help you sleep in the past. Now that you are clean from this substance, you cannot rely on it to fall asleep. In addition, you may be battling with very unpleasant side effects while in recovery – anxiety, depression, stress, and fear are some of the most common. As a result, it is more difficult for you to fall asleep at night.

Since it is more difficult to fall asleep, the sleep disorder exacerbates some of your recovery side effects. In particular, insomnia makes anxiety, depression, and stress even worse. You feel irritable, overtired, and like you cannot perform your daily functions – and your stress levels go through the roof.

You may think that old coping mechanisms, such as drug and alcohol use, are looking like a better decision. Since you are suffering from sleep deprivation, you could have more impulsive tendencies and want to end your discomfort as soon as possible. You could run the risk of relapsing at this point, or you could continue to suffer from sleep issues. However, a third option is available: using healthy methods to improve your sleep.

How Does Addiction Impact Your Sleep?

While sleep disorders in recovery are common, it is likely that you have experienced trouble sleeping before. Addiction itself can worsen your sleeping habits. Depending on the type of substance you used, you could impact your brain chemistry and sleep cycles. In addition, addiction withdrawal symptoms can also reduce your quality of sleep.

Because of the changes that drugs and alcohol make to your body, it can be very difficult to develop healthy sleeping habits while on these substances. Recovery and healthy sleep methods are the best options.

Addiction throws your natural body clock out of its rhythm – you often stay up very late in the night and wake up very late in the day. Drugs can also impact the time you spend in REM sleep, which reduces your feelings of restfulness in the morning. It takes longer to fall asleep when you are addicted to a substance, and you will reduce your overall sleep time because you often wake up during the night.

Tips For Improving Sleep While In Recovery From Addiction

While sleep disorders are often unavoidable in addiction recovery, it doesn’t mean that you cannot get a good night’s sleep. Follow these tips to enjoy a better night’s sleep and naturally improve your symptoms:

  • Exercise plays an important role in regulation your sleep cycles and increasing your relaxation during the day. In addition, exercise produces natural endorphins that can aid in your recovery journey. Performing 15 to 30 minutes of exercise about 3 to 4 hours before you go to bed can have a great impact on your ability to fall asleep.
  • Meditation can also aid in helping you fall asleep, especially if anxiety or intrusive thoughts play a role in your insomnia. With consistent practice, you can reduce your stress and help you focus on the present, both of which can help you fall asleep easier.
  • You can change your sleep environment to promote relaxation and aid you in falling asleep. If your mattress is uncomfortable, invest in a new one and supply it with supportive pillows, new blankets, and clean sheets. Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Invest in a white noise machine to block out intrusive noises.
  • Using electronic devices right before bed can make it harder to fall asleep, since the blue light can block the release of your sleep hormones. Enable night mode to lower your exposure to this light before bed or avoid screens completely in the hours before you fall asleep.
  • A poor diet can also make it more difficult to get some rest, in addition to increasing stress and discomfort. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, fat, spice, and caffeine after midday. Incorporate foods that promote sleep, such as legumes, leafy green vegetables, dairy products, and meats, into your diet. Avoid eating large, heavy meals late at night.
  • Establishing a regular bedtime routine can also help you fall asleep easier. Having a regular schedule allows you to develop a ritual that can help you combat insomnia and promote relaxation. Avoid doing anything other than sleeping and relaxing in your bed. Go to bed and wake up around the same times every day, including weekends. Perform relaxation activities before bed, such as meditating, doing some light yoga, taking a warm bath, or reading a book.

If you are still struggling from a sleep disorder during recovery, visit a medical professional as soon as possible. If you find yourself struggling with a sleep disorder due to addiction, seek professional treatment from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. For more information on pursuing your recovery journey, visit Echo Recovery today to gain valuable resources from others like you.

Fentanyl Overdoses Are Rampant, But Where Is The Drug Coming From?

Fentanyl Overdoses Are Rampant, But Where Is The Drug Coming From?

By now, most of America is well aware of the ongoing opioid epidemic, or has at least heard about it on the news a time or two. However, while most of the country recognizes the names of the most common opioids – names like heroin and OxyContin – and may even have a little knowledge regarding their effects, the true danger of fentanyl remains a mystery to many. What is Fentanyl? Why is it so dangerous? Where does it come from?

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid, which means that it is a compound that resembles opium in the way it physically or psychologically affects the user. Originally developed in 1959, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid meant to provide anesthetic and pain relieving effects to those who had recently had major surgery. Like other opioids, such as morphine and codeine, fentanyl was first produced for medical purposes.

Fentanyl is over 100 times stronger than morphine, which made it extremely effective at addressing pain during and after surgery. In the 60’s, fentanyl was administered as an intravenous dose to provide anesthetics before surgery. Due to the drug’s usage primarily in the hospital setting, there were no cases of fentanyl abuse at that time.

However, in the 1990s, manufacturers developed a fentanyl patch that could be applied to the skin for long-term pain relief, as well as a lollipop that could be consumed to provide pain-relieving benefits. Cancer patients enjoyed the pain relieving benefits of fentanyl, as well as the reduction in the emotional responses to pain. Unfortunately, recreational users did, as well.

Why Is Fentanyl So Dangerous?

As mentioned, fentanyl is extremely potent – 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. In fact, even two milligrams is strong enough to cause death in adults. So, why do users risk death with such a strong substance? Sometimes, those using fentanyl are unaware.

In the early 2000’s, drug cartels began cutting fentanyl with a number of other illicit drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamines, and especially heroin. Sometimes, the cut drugs are diluted and sold in bricks; other times, the product is pressed into pills and sold as Xanax, OxyContin, or other prescription medications. Either way, a poorly mixed batch can feature areas rich in fentanyl, which is much stronger than the drugs it imitates. An unsuspecting user can consume high amounts of fentanyl without even knowing they’re using the drug.

What’s the motivation behind cutting fentanyl into other drugs? First, fentanyl’s ready availability from foreign laboratories makes it hard for dealers to pass up the ease of mass production. Compared to heroin, which takes months of growing and cultivating – not to mention land – accessing synthetic fentanyl is simply easier. In addition, the high potency of fentanyl means manufacturers must only include a little in each pill on order to give the user the effects of using another prescription opioid.

Diluting and cutting fentanyl can result in a great deal of money to be made. In fact, street values of a kilogram of diluted fentanyl can reach upwards of $350,000, all for a product that cost only $3,000 in its purest form. In pill form, that same kilogram can result in a million pills worth as much as $20 apiece – up to $20 million in profits for the seller.

Where Does Fentanyl Come From?

One source of fentanyl in the US is legal prescription medications. Some users improperly obtain and consume fentanyl lollipops for recreational purposes. Others remove fentanyl gel from the fentanyl patches and concentrate and inject or smoke it. Still, legal prescriptions are only one source of fentanyl.

Primarily, fentanyl in the United States comes from China, through multiple channels. One way Chinese manufacturers send fentanyl to the US is via direct mail. Consumers purchase fentanyl and other drugs over the dark web; the drugs are then packaged and arrive directly at the consumer’s mailbox, ready for consumption. Since fentanyl is so potent, the product arrives in tiny envelopes, packed in small packages that are easy to overlook with the large volume of international mail that passes through the US Postal System every day.

In many cases, fentanyl via mail is intentionally mislabeled so that it passes through other countries that proved less conspicuous than China. Often, packages travel through countries like Tonga and Canada before finding their way to the United States. Hundreds of shipments are seized each year, but hundreds more arrive at their destinations. When you consider just how potent a small envelope of fentanyl is, hundreds of shipments takes on a scary, new meaning.

However, in other cases the fentanyl pipeline is much more complicated than a direct route from China to US shores. First, much of the bulk fentanyl produced in China gets funneled through Mexico, where it is accessed and distributed by the same drug cartels that push other drugs across the US border. It is diluted, cut with other drugs, and distributed – usually through San Diego – to dealers across the county.

How does the fentanyl cross the border? The bulk of the US fentanyl trade comes from the Sinaloa and Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels. Like many other drugs, fentanyl reaches the US via the cartel’s smuggling routes on foot, via car, semi-truck, or boat. To that end, seizures of fentanyl have occurred in produce trucks, shoes, buses, and in airport passenger terminals.

What Can We Do About It?

Investigators in the United States and Mexico are working together to try and halt shipments of fentanyl from coming into the United States, which includes efforts to cease manufacturing, cutting, and transport operations in Mexico. Border security, mail inspections, and other efforts continue on both sides of the US borders with Canada and Mexico. China, as well, has begun efforts to curb fentanyl production with a series of regulations on the chemicals involved.

Still, officials are fighting a tough battle. Fentanyl has maintained its position as the most commonly overdosed drug in the United States since 2016, when it first surpassed other opioids in that respect. Similarly, between 2014 and 2015, officials saw a 2,400% increase in the seizure of fentanyl at the border. Cooperation among all countries and agencies is necessary to limit the amount of this truly dangerous drug that crosses our borders.

Could You Lose Your Job For Going To Rehab?

Could You Lose Your Job For Going To Rehab?

The decision to seek treatment can be lifesaving for many individuals experiencing addiction. Unfortunately, attending treatment takes time – often as many as 90 days, and sometimes more. The length of treatment can cause some individuals to assess the benefits of rehab against the potential risks taking time away from work and the rest of their lives.

Why Do Some People Fear Attending Rehab?

Although addiction can be a full-time job in itself, most people experiencing addiction hold steady jobs in order to support themselves, their families, and even the potential costs of addiction. When a physician, interventionist, counselor, or someone else suggests attending rehab, the prospect of leaving that job for the length of time necessary to complete rehab can seem daunting. Not only must the addicted individual face leaving the addictive substance behind, but friends and family as well.

When you add in the prospect of leaving a job for as many as 90 days, the idea of nearly three months without pay can compound already-present anxiety surrounding how you are going to pay for treatment in the first place. Then, the ultimate fear – what if there is no job waiting upon your return? Can your employer fire you for attending rehab?

Laws Exist To Protect You

Depending on the circumstances of your employment, laws are in place that may protect your ability to keep your job while you are in rehab. However, these laws only apply to companies of certain sizes. It is important to learn your rights before approaching the topic of rehab with your employer.

Once you enter rehab, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) states that you are protected and cannot be terminated for reasons associated with your addiction. For example, missing work due to the treatment process – whether it is to participate in a weekly drug test or attend treatment – is a protected action under the ADA as long as you are using your vacation time or sick leave. If your employer fires you for seeking treatment, you may file discrimination charges against your employer. ADA regulations only apply to government agencies and companies with fifteen employees or more.

Similarly, the Family Leave and Medical Act (FMLA) states that employees may take as many as 12 weeks off to pursue medical treatment for a condition. This includes addiction disorders, allowing you to pursue treatment for up to 12 weeks without fear of reprisal. However, FMLA leave is generally leave without pay, unless your employer agrees to pay you anyway. FMLA regulations only apply to full-time employees of companies with over 50 employees. In addition, you must have worked at your company for at least 12 months.

What Are Your Options?

People Fear Attending Rehab

If FMLA or ADA does not apply to you due to the circumstances of your job, or if you cannot afford to miss work for a long period, attending a full, inpatient treatment program lasting 90 days or more may not be your best option. Instead, you may want to consider whether an outpatient treatment center is a better option. Although you may need to leave work for drug testing or sessions outside of the norm, it is possible to schedule outpatient treatment around a full-time work schedule.

Similar to inpatient rehab, however, those instances in which you must leave work early for sessions related to your treatment may occur, and similar questions may arise regarding missed work. You are still protected under FMLA and ADA if your company meets all size requirements. You are continuously protected from reprisal and discrimination resulting from your addiction.

Additionally, you may want to consider disability. If you are unable to work during treatment and earn less than $1,000 per month, you may qualify for disability payments. However, you must prove that your medical condition renders you unable to work, or that it has affected your work to the point where you cannot maintain employment. Ask a medical professional for more information.

What Should You Do Before Attending Treatment?

If you plan to attend inpatient treatment that will require you to miss work, or if you intend to schedule outpatient treatment that may interfere with your work schedule, you will need to discuss your upcoming absences with your employer. However, even if you believe outpatient rehab will not impact your work schedule, consider the fact that your treatment or the resulting withdrawal symptoms may affect your work performance. Usually, it is in your best interest to discuss these issues with your employer before they occur.

Before the conversation:

  • Know your rights. It is essential to take the time to learn about your rights to privacy and continued employment before entering into a discussion with your employer. To achieve this, you may want to speak with an insurance provider or medical professional with knowledge in these areas.
  • Familiarize yourself with your workplace’s drug policy. If you are well informed about your company’s drug policy, you are better able to reassure your employer that you do not intend to violate the policy. In addition, you can reassure your employer that your treatment plan is, in part, an effort to adhere to company policy.
  • Find your company’s HR representative. In most cases, HR is the appropriate place to have a discussion regarding your drug treatment plans. Reiterate that your treatment is an effort to improve your health as well as to improve your performance at work.
  • Have the conversation as soon as possible. Adequate notice that you are spending time away from work is a consideration to your employer, who can adequately plan for your absence. In addition, you will have sufficient time before beginning treatment to ensure your employer is respecting your rights.
  • Take care of responsibilities. Ensure that you leave your employer in a good position. Do your best to complete any projects that are your responsibility, and tie up any loose ends.

After You Return

Once you’ve completed rehab and return to work, the FMLA stipulates that you return to a similar position and work schedule as before so long as you continue to perform your job as expected. Your employer must keep the details of your addiction and treatment confidential, as well as the terms of your return. In some cases, you may have agreed to a return to work agreement. This document is an agreement between you, your employer, and the treatment center, and stipulates your continued sobriety, possible drug testing, and job performance as a condition of your continued employment.

Maryland Attorney General Unable To Stem Drug Price Gouging With Legislation

Maryland Attorney General Unable To Stem Drug Price Gouging With Legislation

Drug manufacturers in the United States have recently faced mounting public scrutiny and outrage over consistently escalating drug prices. Manufacturers have raised prices of vital medications by more than 6000% in some cases*, outraging Americans who rely on these medications to survive. Price gouging, or the practice of driving up the price of goods in the face of high demand when a product manufacturer has effectively “cornered the market,” is a major issue in the pharmaceutical industry with very real effects on American lives. Some state lawmakers have attempting to enact new laws and regulations to curb this worrisome trend, but so far, these efforts have largely failed.

Understanding Price Gouging With Pharmaceuticals

Most Americans witnessed one of the most recent developments in the fight against drug price gouging with the downfall of Martin Shkreli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who increased the price of a drug intended to treat a rare disease by nearly 5,000%, outraging patients and the general public and earning him the title of the “most hated man in America.” Shkreli is currently in prison for unrelated securities fraud charges and other crimes, but the impact of Turing Pharmaceuticals’ price gouging started an important conversation in the American public sphere about the justifiability of astronomical price increases on important drugs.

Maryland Steps Up To Fight Drug Price Gouging With New Laws

Maryland Attorney General Scott Frosh has been fighting pharmaceutical price gouging since 2017, championing a new bill intended to function as an anti-price gouging law that eventually passed on October 1, 2017. The new law allows the state Attorney General to take legal action against any pharmaceutical manufacturer that enacts an exorbitant or “unconscionable” price hike without justification.

Difficulties With Appeals

Many pharmaceutical manufacturers argue that the cost of developing complex medications justifies these price increases, and the Association for Available Medicines (AAM) fought Frosh’s new bill vehemently. The AAM argued the term “price gouging” was too vague to be included in official legislation and that such a law violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This clause prohibits state governments from enacting laws and regulations that interfere with interstate commerce.

Unfortunately, these arguments held up in appellate courts, and although U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis denied the AAM’s request for an injunction, he allowed their lawsuit to continue. A three-judge panel ruled that the lawsuit was justifiable and Frosh’s new law violated the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. Frosh responded to this decision by petitioning the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse the decision, but they ruled against him and rejected this appeal on July 24, 2018. Their justification for this decision was that states should not have the right to impose regulations or consumer protection requirements on out-of-state manufacturers, even if those manufacturers intended to sell their products in those states.

Frosh Fights Back

Despite the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the AAM’s lawsuit’s claims, Frosh and his team decided to reorganize their efforts and broach the issue with the United States Supreme Court. As of October of 2018, Frosh has helped spearhead the effort to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision, citing the fact that any 1,000% increase in the price of a drug “defies common sense.”**

In his petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, Frosh argues that his anti-price gouging act contained objective examples of predatory practices among pharmaceutical manufacturers, but the Supreme Court has yet to hear the case.

Setting Precedent

Although Frosh’s anti-price-gouging law encountered hold-ups in the appellate court system, it served as an important catalyst that encouraged other states to start developing legislation to counteract price-gouging practices in the pharmaceutical industry.

On February 8, 2019, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillebrand and Sherrod Brown co-sponsored new legislation aimed at fighting pharmaceutical price gouging***. Their new law would penalize any pharmaceutical company that engaged in any unjustifiable price gouging to exploit patients who depend on their products. Some of those patients suffer from cancer, diabetes, drug addiction, and other complex medical conditions requiring specialized medications.

This new law requires all pharmaceutical companies to report all price increases and include clear justification for such increases, such as objective manufacturing cost increases or increasing prices of necessary ingredients and raw materials. The law imposes heavy fines for companies that engage in any type of exploitative price gouging. Congressional representatives Mark Pocan and Marcy Kaptur have also co-sponsored similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Respond

Many pharmaceutical companies have fought against these new legislative maneuvers, citing the rulings from the U.S. Court of Appeals against Frosh’s new law in Maryland and continuing to cite the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause and protections for interstate commerce.

These companies have also attempted to justify their seemingly absurd price increases. In a recent interview with Financial Times****, Nostrum Laboratories representative Nirmal Mulye defended the company’s decision to increase the price of their drug nitrofurantoin from $474.75 to $2,392. Nitrofurantoin is a common antibiotic treatment for bladder infections and holds a spot on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.

Mulye brazenly argued that selling a product at the highest possible price was a “moral requirement” of doing business, stirring up further outrage concerning predatory practices of American pharmaceutical manufacturers. He went on to further clarify these statements in other interviews, explaining that seeking profitability was an essential part of doing business and keeping a company alive.

Doctors Share Patient Stories To Draw Attention To Drug Price Gouging

Understanding Price Gouging With PharmaceuticalsThe Baltimore Sun***** recently published the story of a patient forced to choose between her life-saving heart medication and providing for her family. The grandmother of eight required a specific type of heart medication to support optimal heart function after overcoming a potentially fatal heart condition in the hospital. When she visited the pharmacy to fill her prescription and saw the $200 price tag, she decided to choose providing for her family over filling this expensive pharmacy order.

The woman’s doctor, Nicky J. Mehtani, reported the woman died of a heart attack shortly thereafter, after missing her required medication. Mehtani argued that neither negligent medical care nor ineffective treatment caused this woman’s death, but rather the predatory practices of pharmaceutical manufacturers pursuing profits at the expense of those who need their products to survive.

The Supreme Court has yet to rule on Frosh’s petition concerning his anti-price gouging law, and the viability of other new legislation aimed at curbing drug price gouging remains uncertain as well.

University Of Maryland Wins Grant for New Drug that Curb Opioid Cravings

University Of Maryland Wins Grant for New Drug that Curb Opioid Cravings

The federal government supports the development of new medications and medical treatments through grants. They are awarded to research centers, universities, and companies willing to undertake comprehensive research and development projects for the benefit of the American public. Recently, the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland won a $12 million grant to develop a new drug that curbs opioid cravings and the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

Elements of the University of Maryland Grant

The new drug, ANS-6637, is the focal point of the Institute of Human Virology’s new grant project, but the overall project concerns more than just pharmaceutical testing. The Institute of Human Virology intends to put this new grant money toward researching effective opioid use disorder treatment techniques, study the spread of hepatitis C, HIV, and other infectious diseases from intravenous drug use, and test the efficacy of ANS-6637 in patients who experience opioid cravings.

The Dangers of Opioid Abuse

The United States is currently in the midst of an ongoing drug epidemic that has resulted in accidental drug overdoses becoming the leading cause of accidental deaths in the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that opioid overdoses caused nearly 48,000 deaths in the United States in 2017. Their report also showed that opioid overdose deaths increased sevenfold from 1999 to 2017.

Maryland has experienced some of the worst effects of the ongoing opioid crisis, placing the state among the top five states with the highest levels of opioid abuse and opioid overdose-related deaths. From 1999 to 2016, the death rate from opioid use disorder in Maryland more than doubled the national average. In 2016, there were about 30 deaths per 100,000 residents in Maryland, while the national average hovered around 13 deaths per 100,000 residents. The Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland reported a sharp increase from 17.7 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2015 to 30 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2016.

Securing Funding for the New Grant

The opioid crisis started escalating in the mid-2000s and has now reached epidemic levels in the United States. These numbers spurred many legislators and even private companies to develop new methods for fighting the growing number of opioid addiction cases in the country.

Amygdala Neurosciences, Inc., a California-based pharmaceutical development company, is the primary financial backer for the recent $12 million grant to the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology. Together, they are working in coordination with the National Institute of Health (NIH) to ensure the Institute of Human Virology can conduct thorough testing of new ways to treat opioid use disorder. The NIH developed their Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative in April of 2018. This grant is just one step in the plan to curb opioid use disorder in the United States.

U.S. lawmakers throughout the country have also proposed new legislative measures to help increase funding to the NIH and other organizations capable of researching and developing new addiction treatment methods. U.S. Congressional Representatives Elijah Cummings and Elizabeth Warren recently co-sponsored the proposition of new legislation to increase NIH funding, with a specific focus on curbing the ongoing opioid epidemic.

ANS-6637 Testing Results

University Of Maryland Wins Grant to Test Drug That Curbs Opioid CravingsThe Institute of Human Virology reports that ANS-6637, the new opioid use disorder drug in development, is a selective ALDH2 inhibitor. This means the substance can effectively block the dopamine surge commonly associated with satisfying an opioid craving. Craving is an integral part of any addiction cycle, and the dopamine rush of securing and using a dose of one’s drug of choice is a key biochemical reason behind prolonged addictions.

ANS-6637 is promising due to the unique ability of the substance to prevent dopamine surges from drug use without interfering with baseline dopamine levels in the brain. ANS-6637 has already shown positive results in laboratory tests on animals, with researchers reporting that the surge of dopamine felt after using certain drugs creates the euphoria or “high” associated with illicit drug use, particularly opioids.

The new grant effectively enables human trials, and there is a pool of potential test subjects available to help the Institute of Human Virology to test and confirm the efficacy of ANS-6637. The study hopes to test the effects of this groundbreaking drug on actual current opioid users.

Research Team Leaders and Location

The National Institute of Health opted for the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland to spearhead the new research into ANS-6637 due to the devastating effects opioid abuse has had on the local communities in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. region. The lead researchers for this new project are Dr. Robert Gallo, Dr. Shyam Kottili, and Dr. Sarah Kattakuzhy. Dr. Gallo uncovered the link between HIV and AIDS in 1984, and he draws heavily on his experience with infectious diseases in the team’s research into the efficacy of ANS-6637.

This new project has a six-year timeline, beginning with preliminary trials and pre-clinical studies of pharmacokinetics at the National Institute of Health facilities in Washington, D.C. The Institute of Human Virology will handle the second phase of the project in both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. This phase will focus on investigations of the efficacy of ANS-6637 as a treatment for opioid use disorder and safety for human consumption. The study will also explore the risk of death from infectious diseases associated with intravenous opioid use.

Stay Informed About the Effects of Drug Addiction in Maryland Here

Annapolis May Soon Offer Drug Test Kits That Detect Fentanyl In Drug Supplies

Annapolis May Soon Offer Drug Test Kits That Detect Fentanyl In Drug Supplies

In recent years, America has quietly been going through an opioid crisis that is only just now beginning to receive the attention it deserves. The most recent drug on the scene is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is now the main cause of overdose deaths in the country. Fentanyl is a white powder dealers and users can cut into cocaine without detection. This combination can easily lead to a fentanyl overdose.

New proposals would provide fentanyl test strips that would be available for anyone wanting to detect any traces of fentanyl in their cocaine. The idea has proven controversial, with some seeing it as a way to cut down on fentanyl deaths while others believe it avoids dealing with the real issue.

Cocaine And Fentanyl Overdose Deaths

In 2012, more than 4,400 people died from cocaine overdoses. Not counting methadone, only about 180 of those deaths involved a synthetic opioid like fentanyl. By 2016 – the last year for which we have complete data – cocaine deaths had risen to 10,400. Alarmingly, 4,200 of those involved a synthetic opioid other than methadone.

Cocaine overdose deaths are a problem that has traditionally hit the African-American community disproportionately hard. The use of heroin and fentanyl heroin, on the other hand, has arisen mainly in the white community. Some believe that the mixing of the two drugs could represent an opioid crisis spreading to a new demographic. But what is the reason for the link between the two?

Various Hypotheses

Though no one knows for sure why fentanyl is suddenly showing up in cocaine, there are a number of theories that experts find plausible.

  1. Users are mixing the two. They may be doing this unknowingly, because many dealers are selling fentanyl and calling it heroin. The problem is that fentanyl is far more potent, and if a user takes a heroin-sized dose of fentanyl, they could easily wind up taking too much. It is also possible that users are knowingly mixing the two together. A “speedball” is a mix of heroin and cocaine and has long been popular among drug abusers. As fentanyl increasingly replaces heroin, it is natural to find it as part of a speedball now.
  2. Dealers are mixing the two deliberately. There is some evidence to support this, as some batches of cocaine seized by police have tested positive for fentanyl. However, this occurrence is rare. It does not make much sense for dealers to mix the two, as one is an “upper” and the other a “downer”. Dealers don’t want to put their customers off any more than any other seller, and now that fentanyl is gaining notoriety as a dangerous drug, it makes less sense for dealers to risk the lives of people who are paying customers.
  3. Dealers are mixing the two accidentally. If a dealer uses the same table to cut their cocaine and fentanyl without cleaning it in between, this could lead to the two getting mixed together. This might explain why such a small proportion of seized cocaine batches actually have fentanyl in them.
  4. Better data. A final possibility is that the amount of fentanyl-linked cocaine deaths is not really changing, we are just getting better at detecting it as a cause of death. While it seems unlikely that this would explain the entirety of the apparent epidemic, some experts maintain it could be part of it.

Test Strips May Arrive Soon

Annapolis May Soon Offer Test Strips To Detect Fentanyl In CocaineAmidst the growing opioid crisis, Annapolis may soon offer test strips for fentanyl detection. A test kit could be as inexpensive as $1 per unit. The test itself is as easy as sprinkling a little bit of the drug into a cup of water and then putting the strip in the water. One line on the strip means there is fentanyl, two lines means there is none.

The effectiveness of such a plan depends on why fentanyl and cocaine are suddenly linked. If dealers are mixing fentanyl into their cocaine, whether by accident or on purpose, there may be a demand for the test strips if word about them spreads. However, as we have seen, there is scant evidence of widespread cocaine batches laced with fentanyl.

If it is principally users who are mixing the two, then there is no reason to believe there will be demand for a product that tells them what they already know, and cannot tell them how much fentanyl they have mixed in. We should also note that toxicology tests only determine the presence of cocaine and fentanyl in the body of the deceased. It is possible that the addict took the two drugs separately, which would further obviate the use of test strips.

We Should Have Seen This Coming

Test strips for fentanyl may do some good, but the drug problem is much bigger than that, and there are reasons to wonder just how much good it can do. Is someone who tests their drug supply and finds that it contains fentanyl going to get rid of it? It is likely that he or she may find it difficult to resist taking the drug if it means waiting several more hours until they can purchase more. Additionally, they may not have the money on hand to buy another dose. Although using the test strips suggests a level of self-care, those struggling with addiction also tend to lean towards high-risk behaviors.

Another issue is that the strips reveal the presence of fentanyl, but not the concentration. A person who decides to test their drugs has no way of knowing how much fentanyl the dealer mixed with the cocaine and may decide to risk taking the dose anyway.

Lastly, the mere availability of test strips does not guarantee that anyone will want to use them, or even see the need. If a user has already been taking fentanyl, even unknowingly, they may have developed a chemical dependency on the drug. If avoiding fentanyl means going through fentanyl withdrawal, they may see no reason to use the strips.

Treatment Is The Only True Solution

Ultimately, strips that test for fentanyl can have only limited usefulness at best. Even if someone struggling with addiction can use them to avoid taking fentanyl, they still are taking a harmful drug that can do damage on its own.  Any type of drug addiction makes it impossible to lead a normal, healthy life. The only way to make drug use safe, is to not take drugs at all, and that means a long-term addiction treatment plan.

Treatment centers, such as Echo Recovery in Maryland, give people the best hope to beat their addiction and start on the road to recovery. A good rehab center offers treatment, counseling, group therapy and a sponsor or mentor to support a person going through the recovery process. This is the best addiction relapse prevention. Those in Annapolis who require drug detox can contact Echo Recovery for help.

Every individual’s life experience, outlook and future goals are different. A treatment center will adapt their treatment plans to suit the individual. This offers the best chance at recovery, and recovery is the true goal for anyone with addiction problems. A fentanyl test strip is a band aid for a problem far worse than a cut to the skin.