By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– Fentanyl is having a tragic impact on young people in Colorado. With pills selling for $30-$100, the high only lasts a couple of hours and the risk is high.

(credit: CBS)

KC Lucas, who works as a sales consultant, is not afraid to acknowledge he was addicted to drugs for some 20 years. He found help here at Urban Peaks Rehab which helped turn his life around.

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“I was 100% consumed by the drugs. Every waking thought was ‘When will I get more? How long will it last?'” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

Opioids sold on the streets, often without his knowledge, contained the extremely powerful and dangerous drug fentanyl. Then he found a doctor, a different kind of doctor, Dr. Chad Johnston who had been an opioid addict, too.

The internist said, “When I got out of inpatient rehab and started to go back into the medical field, I was approached by the place I was getting continuing treatment. I was asked do you want to continue doing this as a career?”

(credit: CBS)

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What he has done with patients like KC Lucas is get them off opiates like fentanyl and onto a strip of film or pill that blocks the craving. This is the generic form of Suboxone.

The days of cold turkey through a period of craving and a horrible flu-like feeling are being replaced with regular use of these blocker drugs.

“It’s a joke how easy life is, I don’t have to worry about where am I getting it, how much am I getting, where am I going to get it again,” said Lucas.

So many now are coming in here due to fentanyl. Most are, but not all are making it off the drug alive.

(credit: CBS)

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“Fentanyl is just so much stronger, it’s so easy to overdose,” Dr. Johnson explained, adding that while many people used to buying street drugs are aware of the dangers others have no idea what it’s in the pills they are getting and that they could kill them.

Rick Sallinger