Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs on the market today. It’s one of the most powerful synthetic opioids that’s up to 100 times more potent than morphine, and it’s being increasingly used by teens across the country. According to the CDC, the rate of overdose deaths almost doubled in 2020 and increased by another 20% in 2021. Many of these overdose deaths are due to fake pills or other drugs that have been laced with fentanyl. As such, overdose has become a leading cause of overdose deaths in adolescents and young adults.
Fentanyl is so dangerous because it’s so potent. Just a tiny amount can cause an overdose, and it only takes a few minutes for the effects to kick in. That’s why it’s so important for teens to get the help they need if they’re using fentanyl or other illicit drugs that may contain fentanyl unbeknownst to them.
There are many different treatment options available, which will depend on your teen’s situation. Below are some of the best options for those suffering from a drug use disorder and how you can help save their life.
What is Opioid Addiction?
Before you can understand the best way to treat your teen’s fentanyl addiction, it’s important to understand what opioid addiction is. It is a serious disease that affects the brain and body. It’s characterized by a strong craving for opioids and continued use despite harmful consequences such as fatal overdoses.
Opioids are a type of drug that includes both prescription painkillers (like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin) and illegal drugs (like heroin). They work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which reduces pain signals. They also produce a sense of pleasure and well-being, which is why they’re so addictive.
Fentanyl is considered highly addictive due to its potency. Fentanyl can also be used under medical supervision. You might have fentanyl in your house if your doctor has recently prescribed pain medication for you or a family member.
Due to its potency, trying fentanyl once might be enough to develop opioid use disorder. One-time fentanyl use is also enough to kill someone from an overdose, especially when combined with other drugs, which is why it’s critical to help your child get treatment for substance use disorder if they are currently struggling with addiction.
Not knowing the signs of substance use disorder puts your adolescents at risk of health issues, overdose, or death. Some signs that adolescents may be addicted to fentanyl and have a drug abuse problem include:
Taking opioids in larger doses or more often than prescribed
Taking someone else’s prescription even though they are in good health
Getting opioids from multiple doctors
Going to great lengths to get opioids, such as stealing or lying
Continuing to use opioids despite negative consequences, such as health issues, job loss, or relationship problems
If you think your teen may be addicted to opioids, it’s important to seek professional help right away. Addiction is a serious disease that requires immediate intervention in order to minimize the risk of a potentially fatal overdose.
Treatment Options for Teens Struggling with Fentanyl
There are many different options available for those with a fentanyl use disorder. The best course of action will depend on your teen’s situation. Here are some of the most common treatment options to help your loved one overcome their substance use disorder.
Inpatient Residential Program
Inpatient treatment is one of the most effective methods of treating addiction. Adolescents typically come into a detox after an overdose, or if they want to quit It involves your adolescent living at a residential facility where they’ll receive 24-hour health care and supervision. This level of care is ideal for those who have a more severe addiction or who are experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Opioid withdrawal occurs when someone stops taking opioids suddenly. It can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
Nausea and vomiting
Inpatient treatment will help detox from an opioid use disorder in a safe and controlled environment. They’ll also receive individualized care from addiction specialists. This care may include therapy, group counseling, and medication-assisted treatment.
It’s best to seek medical detoxification through inpatient treatment if your child is addicted to opioids like fentanyl. Opioid withdrawal can be excruciating, and inpatient treatment will give your teen the best chance at recovery.
Once your adolescent completes their detoxification with the help of 24/7 nursing and medical staff, they will continue their recovery at the inpatient center if their drug use disorder is severe, or if they don’t feel safe enough to continue on their own. If parents fear their children will relapse, inpatient treatment is always a good option.
Outpatient Levels of Care
If the opioid use disorder is not as severe, adolescents may be able to receive treatment on an outpatient basis. Outpatient care allows your child to live at home and continue going to school or work while undergoing treatment for their drug addiction. There are different levels of care available at the outpatient level, which will include:
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): PHO requires your child to participate in group and individual therapy sessions while also receiving other forms of care, such as medication-assisted treatment. This type of outpatient care is typically reserved for those who need more structure and support than IOP can provide, or who are stepping down from a residential level of care.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): IOP requires your child to attend treatment several times a week. IOP is more time-consuming than outpatient therapy, but studies have shown that IOP can be just as effective at managing substance use disorder as inpatient facilities can. Like PHP, your teen can enjoy the support and help from dedicated counselors and other professionals while still living at home.
Outpatient Therapy: This is the least intensive form of outpatient care. It typically requires your child to attend weekly therapy sessions and meet with a counselor or therapist regularly. While this type of care is not as intense as IOP or partial hospitalization, it can still be an effective way to manage a fentanyl use disorder.
Sober living homes: A sober living home is a safe and supportive environment for those in recovery from addiction. Sober living homes typically require residents to follow certain rules, such as abstaining from drug and alcohol use, attending 12-step meetings, and completing chores. Residents are also typically required to find a job or go to school. Sober living homes can give your teen structure, routine, and most importantly, support from others in recovery. They provide a community to not only relate with the individual but also to hold them accountable for their recovery. Sober living programs often work in conjunction with outpatient treatment facilities to provide a comprehensive approach to one’s sobriety and the many nuances therein.
Aftercare programs, such as sober living homes, are a good option for those who have mild to moderate drug addiction. It’s also a good option for those who have completed inpatient treatment and need long-term support to maintain their sobriety and get back on their feet.
Unfortunately, drug addiction is considered a chronic condition, meaning your teen might have to maintain treatment or work some form of a personalized program to some degree for the rest of their life.
How to Choose the Best Option for Fentanyl Abuse
No matter what type of treatment your teen receives, it’s essential to ensure the program your teen chooses is the right fit for them. Below are some things to consider when choosing the best fentanyl treatment for an adolescent.
The Severity of Drug Abuse
The severity of your teen’s addiction will be one of the biggest factors in determining what type of treatment they need. If your teen is using fentanyl regularly, they will likely need inpatient treatment to detox and recover safely. Thereafter, continued care at a sober living program could be beneficial in providing sustained recovery.
Another important factor to consider when choosing fentanyl treatment is cost. Inpatient can be very expensive, especially if your teen needs to stay in a residential center for an extended period of time.
Outpatient treatment is typically much less expensive than inpatient treatment, but it’s important to make sure your teen is getting the care they need, regardless of cost. In addition, sober living homes often offer sliding-scale payment options, which can make treatment more affordable.
If you live in a rural area, you might not have as many fentanyl treatment options available to you as someone who lives in a major city. That’s why it’s important to consider location when choosing treatment. If there’s an excellent inpatient treatment center located far from your home, it might be worth the travel to get your teen the care they need.
Having a strong support system is essential for anyone in recovery from opioid use disorder, adults and teens included. If you have a close-knit family and friends who are willing to help your teen, they might do well in an outpatient treatment program.
However, if your teen doesn’t have a strong support system, they might do better in a residential treatment center where they can receive 24/7 care and support. Alternatively, a sober living home offers support from others in recovery, which can be beneficial for those who don’t have a strong support system at home.
Find Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Today
Reach out to a treatment provider today to learn more about your options and find the best fentanyl treatment for your teen. Your teen can have a successful recovery with the right treatment and support.
Last Updated on April 12, 2023