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Fentanyl Addiction and Rehab in Washington State: A Nurse Shares Her Story

In Washington State, Fentanyl addiction is a problem that is certainly increasing in severity. Fentanyl rehab is available, but most people don't realize that it's an option for them. They wrongfully assume that because Fentanyl is a prescription drug, it must be safe. This could not be further from the truth.

Fentanyl is a drug that is not always easy to obtain. It's usually only given in hospital settings. In some cases, this fact prevents people from becoming addicted to it, which is good. Even so, there are those who do obtain prescriptions for it for severe pain. There are even instances of people becoming addicted to it who work in the healthcare field.

Here at Northpoint Recovery, we frequently work with healthcare professionals with addictions. These are people that most would assume would have the lowest risk of becoming addicts. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Medical professionals are actually at a much higher risk for addiction that the general population.

With that in mind, we'd like to share a personal story with you about Fentanyl addiction that happened in Washington. It is our hope that you'll learn more about how dangerous this drug is. Her story is proof that anyone can become addicted to Fentanyl; even those who think they're immune.

Washington Fentanyl Rehab Information

Fentanyl Addiction in Washington State: One Nurse's Story

I remember being so excited when I became an RN. Unlike other nurses, I went for my bachelor's degree in nursing right out of high school. I didn't waste time being an aid or an LPN first. I knew what I wanted, and I achieved my goal.

I was hired on as a nurse at a large hospital in Washington, and I was thrilled be starting my new job. It was in the emergency room, which was exactly where I had hoped to work. As you can imagine, it was a pretty taxing job, both physically and mentally. At first, I loved the challenge. I loved working alongside some of the best ER specialists in the state. After a while, though, the job started to take its toll on my body and my mind.

One night, I was given my assignment, and someone came in complaining of back pain. The doctor asked me to give him a shot of Fentanyl, which I did. I came back to check on him about half an hour later. He was like a different person! He said his pain had completely disappeared and he seemed much happier than he did when he came in. He was discharged with a prescription for Fentanyl patches and an appointment to see a back specialist.

That night, I went into the medication room and looked at the Fentanyl vials enviously. I thought about my own back pain. Being on my feet for 12 hour shifts wasn't doing anything to help it at all. By the end of each shift, it was all I could do to go home and crawl into my bed. It was eerily quiet outside the med room, and my chances of getting caught were small. I quickly grabbed a vial of the Fentanyl and a syringe. I put them in my pocket and decided to go on break.

A few minutes later, I was in the bathroom injecting my very first dose of Fentanyl. I could see why that patient seemed so much happier. It gave me a euphoric rush that was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. In just a few minutes, my pain started to dissipate. I looked at the vial and realized I probably had another couple of doses left in it. I told myself I wouldn't do this all the time, but on nights like that one, it was warranted.

How I Knew I Was Addicted to Fentanyl

The thing about addiction is that no one expects to become addicted. Most people use drugs out of curiosity. After all, I was a professional. I knew that many of the drugs on that med cart were addictive. I told myself I wasn't going to let this get out of hand.

At first, I was using Fentanyl once or twice a week, to help me get through the really hard shifts. Before long, I was going to the bathroom at least once a shift to shoot up. Not long after that, I was visiting the bathroom multiple times a shift.

I'll never forget the night I realized that I had become addicted to Fentanyl. I thought about my symptoms, and they fit. I was:

  • Getting cranky if I had to go too long without getting my fix.
  • Using higher amounts of the drug to get the “happy” and pain-relieving effects.
  • Having bouts of momentary confusion while I was working.
  • Thinking about using Fentanyl all the time.
  • Almost falling asleep at the nurses' station after each dose.

Even though I could see the signs of Fentanyl addiction clearly, I wasn't ready to stop. I had successfully convinced myself that it was a drug I needed to survive. I had a true, Fentanyl addiction.

A Colleague Suggests Getting Help for My Fentanyl Addiction

One night, I was in need of a serious fix. I hadn't been able to go on break at the regular time. As soon as I could, I took my vial and my supplies into the bathroom with me. I was so focused on shooting up that I didn't hear the door open. Someone had entered the stall next to mine.

In my rush to get the drug, I dropped the syringe on the floor. Before I could grab it, the person in the stall next door reached down and carefully picked it up.

I knew I had gotten caught.

I had no choice but to face this person. She didn't say anything, and I didn't know who it was. We left our stalls at the same time, and I saw that it was my good friend and co-worker, Tina.

She just looked at me, shame written all over her face. She asked me why I was doing this, and I didn't have an answer for her right away. Finally, I blurted out that she didn't understand, but I needed it. She just shook her head and put the syringe in the sharps container in the bathroom. She asked me to give her the vial from my pocket.

Then she told me I needed to consider going to Fentanyl addiction treatment. I thought she was crazy. I didn't need treatment. I needed the drug! I waved her off and told her not to worry. It wouldn't happen again.

Being Forced to go to Fentanyl Treatment in Washington

Of course, it did happen again. And again, and again. I never ran into Tina in the bathroom again, but one night, she cornered me in the med room.

She asked me to empty my pockets. I did, of everything but the vial I had stashed in there. Anyone else would have been satisfied, but Tina and I were friends. She reached out and patted the outside of my shirt pocket and felt the vial there.

She told me she cared about me, but that I had a problem that I was refusing to accept. She then said the words that changed everything for me:

“Either you tell them, or I will.”

I didn't want to lose my job. I knew what I had to do. I gave her the vial, and at the end of my shift, I asked to talk with the nursing director. I told her that I was pretty sure I had a Fentanyl addiction. I told her I needed to go to Fentanyl rehab.

What I Learned When I Went to Rehab for Fentanyl

It turned out that going to Fentanyl treatment was really the best thing that could have happened to me. I learned a lot about my addiction while I was there. I really didn't have any idea what I was doing to my body. I also didn't know how dangerous this drug really was. Did you know that:

  • Fentanyl is a drug that is very similar to morphine?
  • Fentanyl is as much as 100 times more potent than morphine?
  • It's often sold on the street under names like China White and Goodfella?
  • Many first responders have been in serious danger because of illegally manufactured Fentanyl?
  • There may not be any effective antidotes available for someone who overdoses on Fentanyl?

After learning this information, I was scared. I realized that I was in the right place to get help for my Fentanyl addiction. We worked on learning what the reasons for my addiction were so that I could recover. It took a lot of hard work on my part, but I did it. I'll never go back to using again.

Know Your Resources for Fentanyl Addiction in WA State

If you're addicted to Fentanyl, it's so important for you to know what you're dealing with. You also need to know about the different addiction resources in Washington State that can help you.

Fentanyl rehab can help you more than you realize. It's what helped me. Even though I didn't want to go, I quickly realized that I couldn't have quit on my own.

Talking with a therapist who specializes in addiction can be incredibly helpful for you as well.

Finally, if you're not ready to do either of those, go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. You'll get the chance to talk with other drug addicts and connect with them for support.

A WA Fentanyl Rehab is The Answer You're Looking for

Perhaps you're a medical professional, and you can identify with this nurse's story. Or, maybe you're not, but you're addicted to this dangerous narcotic drug. Either way, you had no idea that this type of addiction could be so serious. You assumed that Fentanyl was safe because your doctor prescribed it to you. Now that you're quite sure you're addicted to it, you're not sure what to do.

The first step you may want to take is taking a prescription drug addiction quiz. This will help you understand your own relationship to Fentanyl in a better way. Your score on this quiz will tell you if you're at risk of being an addict. If you are, you can begin thinking about Fentanyl rehab.

At Northpoint Recovery, we offer Fentanyl treatment in Washington State that addresses the root cause of your addiction. It might be that the root cause of your addiction is really anxiety or depression.

It's also possible that physical pain is what's behind it. Regardless of what it is, we can help you figure it out. Once we do, we can address it differently, so that you can begin the recovery process.

How long have you been battling your addiction to Fentanyl? Is it time for you to think about recovering from it? Please contact us at Northpoint Recovery so that we can provide you with the information and help you need.