Dangers of Fentanyl

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Illicit fentanyl has been linked to many fatal overdoses in Oregon and Southwest Washington, and doctors want to create awareness about this dangerous drug.

“In six months last year, we saw 473 overdoses in Oregon, compared with 472 a year before,” said Dr. Sarah Leitz, Chief of Addiction Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Northwest.

Using an amount of fentanyl the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen can be deadly for most people.

Narcan is a lifesaving medication that can be used to reverse an opioid overdose and can be obtained at most pharmacies in Oregon and Washington without a prescription.

Someone may be experiencing an overdose if they are not responding to voice or touch, their breathing may also be decreased, and the pupils are very small.

Dr. Leitz says Kaiser Permanente Northwest is providing top level care for patients who are struggling with substance use disorders. Doctors can meet a patient where they’re at in the moment and get them into care quickly and appropriately.

Patients can be seen using virtual visits or at an inpatient treatment center.

Kaiser Permanente researchers and the Partnership to End addiction have created a free online quiz to help parents and doctors predict when a child is at risk for future substance use problems, so they can intervene with preventive measures as early as possible.

“I would encourage all of our community members to talk to their family and friends about the prevalence of fentanyl and the importance of having Naloxone on hand and making sure that everyone knows they’re not alone and with what they’re struggling with, including substance use disorders,” said Dr. Leitz. “We can help you. You just need to reach out for help.”