Young people in Arizona are overdosing and dying at an alarming rate from counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. Oftentimes, they get these pills through social media apps right on their phones. But, there’s something you can do to protect your family, your friends, and your neighbors.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid, similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. In its prescription form it is prescribed for pain, but fentanyl is also made illegally and distributed as a street drug. Illegal fentanyl is sold as a powder or made into pills that look like real prescription opioids (pain relievers).
What Can You Do?
It’s never too early to have a conversation about alcohol and other drugs. The sooner you talk about the dangers of underage drinking and substance use, the greater chance you have of influencing your child’s decisions about using them. Encourage your child to do their own research. LearnMoreAZ.org has information on fentanyl tailored for teens.
Because substances, including counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl, are being bought and sold through texting and social media sites, be sure to monitor where your children go online: ask about who they follow and what they are seeing and hearing online. Before allowing your child to go online and set up accounts consider having them sign a social media safety contract.
Get the FACTS
When you talk with your child, don’t leave out the details. Be specific about fentanyl and the dangers of its use. Let your child know that it is being sold as counterfeit OxyContin”, Xanax”, and other prescription drugs. Knowing one of these pills could be deadly, a child may consider the consequences of trying one of these too risky.