Why Fentanyl Education Is So Important W/ Deborah Antich || S.A.M. Talks

The use of mind-altering substances has long been a part of human history; However, artificial drugs have also caused a multitude of problems for people and for society. Now, it is important to start this conversation by highlighting that illicit drug use and addiction is a complicated issue. Drug use is rooted in an endless possibility of factors, from socio-economic struggles, to mental health, trauma, and everything in between. However, no matter the reasons that people turn to drugs, these are issues that need to be discussed, taught, and dealt with head on using multidisciplinary approaches. Because let’s face it, “the war on drugs” has never worked. An artificial drug that is a case study for this, and that is causing a current crisis, is fentanyl.

In this episode of StoneAgeMan Talks Rob talks with Deborah Antich, who is an expert in fentanyl education. Though this is a bit of a different subject than normal for this channel, we think it is really important to help people understand more about fentanyl during what could be considered a fentanyl crisis.  

What is Fentanyl? 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is produced as a painkiller for medical practice. It has been used for a long time but in the last decade or so it has become prolific in street drugs. Fentynal is being sold both in its pure form and is also being mixed into substances. This second fact is especially problematic. This is because people are often unaware that other drugs they are taking contain fentanyl, and they are accidentally overdosing. 

What is the Fentanyl Problem? 

Many deaths are occurring from fentanyl overdoses, both from people who know they are taking it, and those who don’t. The big issue with fentanyl is that it is found in many street drugs, is readily available, and is comparatively inexpensive. This easy access, in addition to how addictive fentanyl is, is creating a major crisis as thousands die from overdoses. 

What is the solution? 

Drug use and addiction overall is a very complex issue that needs to be addressed from a place of understanding, and must be dealt with using multidisciplinary approaches. People use fentanyl for various reasons and understanding this is the first piece to the solution. As just a few examples, people take it when seeking a powerful high, avoiding withdrawal symptoms, or by accident. 

Once we do understand how complex drug use can be, what’s next? 

Well, there are two aspects to overcoming addiction – physical dependence and understanding the reasons behind substance use. When a well-rounded approach is taken to tackle these issues, from both a physical health and mental health aspect, change is possible. 

Other pieces to improving the situation include: 

  • Better mental health and trauma recovery resources
  • Reducing stigma around addiction 
  • Public awareness and education (urgently) 
  • Access to Narcan (Naloxone) – which is a overdose reversal medication

Wrapping it Up

Overall, Deborah strongly emphasizes the need for prevention, education, and support for those struggling with substance abuse. She points out that recovery is possible, and suggests resources for those struggling. Examples of resources are: talking to a general practitioner, seeking mental health services, or connecting with recovery coaches. Despite the challenges, there is hope for this crisis to be improved if we take the right steps.

About The Author
Kirstynn Joseph

Kirstynn Joseph

Kirstynn is an Ecologist and Science Communicator with a passion for nature, writing, science, and conservation. She was born in Yukon Territory, and is currently living in Ecuador, where she is working on various projects and exploring as much as she can before she figures out the next big adventure. For now, her main goal is to share the wonders of our big mysterious world with as many people as she can.