The United States has weathered its fair share of drug crises, from crack-cocaine in the 1980s to the OxyContin crisis in the 2000s. However, the current problem with Fentanyl is proving to be another beast entirely. According to studies from the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, Fentanyl is a factor in 53% of overdoses. This epidemic has mobilized therapists and recovery experts to develop new ways of approaching the age-old problem of addiction.
Texas-based Infinite Recovery is one such facility battling the Fentanyl crisis head-on. Robin Lindeman, the facility’s Executive Director, believes that increasing awareness of the dangers of Fentanyl is paramount to counteracting the pervasiveness of the epidemic. “Once more people understand just how much of an epidemic — and a dangerous one — this is, more action can be taken to mitigate its effects,” says Lindeman.
The Source of the Problem
Many theories exist to explain why Fentanyl has become such an issue. Initially introduced in the 1960s as an anesthetic, it is by no means a new drug, having been utilized by the medical community since as a powerful pain reliever for decades that comes in various delivery methods, from injectables to patches, sprays, and even lollipops (lozenges).
“The issue of Fentanyl as a deadly drug stems from the illicit production of the opioid,” explains Lindeman. “Because Fentanyl is often used as a “cutting agent” to create a cheaper and more addictive drug, many people unknowingly are purchasing drugs laced with Fentanyl.”
The fatal results of Fentanyl abuse have increased substantially in the last decade, spurring Infinite Recovery to make it a focus of their rehabilitation system. “In order to tackle the Fentanyl abuse crisis, it is essential that people have access to better prevention and treatment services, and that these services be known to anyone struggling with addiction,” says Lindeman.
The Infinite Recovery Approach
“Whether someone is addicted to a certain drug and is unaware that they are buying a drug cut with fentanyl, or addicted to Fentanyl itself, the root cause of the crisis has to be addressed in order to prevent it from becoming a further issue,” explains Lindeman. “To do this, drug abuse and addiction has to be treated at the core.”
Infinite Recovery approaches this core focus by recognizing that, in order to prevent the Fentanyl crisis from becoming an increasing issue, there first must be awareness of the problem in the community at large. The root of the addiction issue needs to be addressed before any healing can begin. “Once there is awareness, providing someone struggling with Fentanyl abuse an opportunity to receive holistic treatment has to be taken in order to ensure a successful, long-term recovery from addiction,” Lindeman says.
This holistic treatment includes a well-rounded, evidence-based approach incorporating personally-tailored therapy and proactive client engagement. Infinite Recovery’s in-patient facility is calm and relaxing to cater to the specialized needs of someone trying to break free from a Fentanyl addiction. They embrace the holistic label, focusing on their patients’ mind, body, and spirit in an attempt to heal the whole person — not just their physical addiction.
Community is also a priority for Infinite Recovery. Many addicts build a community around them of other users, which feeds their addiction. Infinite Recovery seeks to reframe the addict’s idea of what community can be and provide them a healthier, more productive alternative.
When a person addicted to Fentanyl first arrives at Infinite Recovery, they are put through a medically-supervised detox program. A withdrawal from Fentanyl, much like other opioids, can be difficult on the body, leading to shakes, chills, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, and muscle aches. Once the drug is out of the person’s system and they are placed into a safe and controlled environment, real healing can begin. “Only when a person detoxing has peace of mind that they will be taken care of no matter what happens and they start to regain clarity of mind, can they truly start to work on the root causes of their addiction,” says Lindeman.
Each individual entering Infinite Recovery is looked at on a case-by-case basis. This appraoch means that every person is considered unique, and their backstories and reasons for using are an essential part of the recovery plan to the treatment team. “Taking a holistic approach to treatment — instead of just treating abuse on the surface — ensures that the individual is set up for lifelong success with their recovery,” explains Lindeman.
The Help They Deserve
To Lindeman, the only way the Fentanyl crisis will ever dissipate is if people are given access to the help that they deserve. The more outreach and information that is available concerning the dangers of Fentanyl, the more people will understand how they can get help. The opportunity for recovery and support — and second chances — is what all those addicted to Fentanyl need if the United States ever hopes to end this epidemic. “Only when every person struggling with addiction is given access to preventive and life-saving care,” says Lindeman, “will the ripple effect of this crisis has put on this country at large be mitigated.”