There is a significant risk for today’s generation because of fentanyl. It is a deadly hidden threat. Fentanyl-laced drugs are extremely dangerous, and the average person is unaware their drugs are laced with fentanyl. Parents, guardians, educators, and anyone responsible for children must rely on drug prevention education to safeguard children and teens from this growing threat.
Preventing Fentanyl Use
Since fentanyl is commonly added to illicit drugs, the best way to prevent fentanyl use is to avoid using all drugs. An effective way to do this is through communication and education. As a parent or guardian, how you approach drug education goes a long way in how your children apply it.
Regarding fentanyl, drug education should focus on online safety, how deadly the drug is, and how it is often undetectable.
Tips For Parents
Speak honestly with your kids about choices and risky behaviors.
Be clear and consistent about family rules, boundaries, and guidelines.
Listen to what they have to say, respect their opinions, and do not be judgmental.
Encourage positive friendships and encourage them to find things that interest them.
Educate them about online safety and safe and healthy social media use.
Create a safe space for them to ask questions. Never make them feel wrong for wanting to know more about drugs.
Correct wrong beliefs they may have with factual information. Help them learn, don’t just lecture.
Stay educated on current drug trends so you can teach your children.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a Synthetic Opioid
This means it is manufactured and not occurring naturally. Fentanyl is created, both legally and illegally, in labs across the world.
Fentanyl is a Powerful Drug
Reports show that fentanyl can be 50x more potent than heroin and 100x more powerful than morphine.
Fentanyl is Deadly
According to the CDC, synthetic opioids like fentanyl are responsible for over 150 deaths every day.
How are Kids Getting Fentanyl?
Today’s teens have the easiest drug access because of the internet and social media. Illegal drugs are sold to teens via social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok or Snapchat. They may also be getting drugs from more traditional avenues such as other students or street dealers they may pass going to and from school.
Learn More About Online Drug Dealers
Drug dealers use social media apps for advertising and selling their products. Prospective buyers use the apps and can easily search for drugs using codewords, emojis, hashtags, and other means. Drug traffickers also advertise using posts and stories; as quickly as accounts are shut down, a new one takes its place.
The buyer will direct message or comment on the post using code words or emojis. Conversations will then move to encrypted messaging platforms like Signal, WhatsApp, or Telegram. Once the deal is made, payment is made through Venmo, Paypal, or cryptocurrency. The packages are then shipped via standard post.
This disturbing trend becomes even worse when you realize that the majority of the drug bought this way are usually tainted with fentanyl. Unsuspecting adolescents who think they are experimenting with a non-lethal drug are in grave danger.
Why Fentanyl is Hard to Avoid
While fentanyl is sold by itself, it is very rarely sought out by kids looking to experiment with drugs. Unfortunately, many individuals who aren’t trying to use fentanyl end up in contact with it. This is because it is used as an additive to many illicit drugs. There have been traces of fentanyl found in heroin, cocaine, meth, and even marijuana. There are even fentanyl pills that are pressed to look like other legitimate prescription drugs. Adolescents who are experimenting with drugs are becoming more and more at risk.
A Closer Look at Teen Fentanyl Deaths
Fentanyl is dangerous to children and teens because of its use as a cutting agent in illicit drugs. Drug dealers are adding fentanyl to other street drugs to make them more potent and deadly. Unsuspecting youth who are looking to experiment with a completely different drug are coming in contact with fentanyl. This trend is causing an increase in adolescent deaths.
According to the Journal of American Medical Association, fentanyl-involved adolescent deaths have increased dramatically in recent years. From 2019 to 2020 these fatalities almost tripled, and from 2020 to 2021 there was an additional increase of 20% in these deaths. If this trend continues we will see even more young lives lost in 2022 and 2023.