Did you know that ONE PILL CAN KILL? Yes, and it is the deadliest of its kind. Fentanyl is now being reported as the number one drug being used in our community and that it is easier and cheaper to get. It is easier to find fentanyl than heroin these days. Why should we be concerned? Because this is the pandemic no one talks about. According to the Center for Disease Control, 107,375 people in the United States died of drug overdoses and drug poisonings in the 12-month period ending in January 2022. A staggering 67 percent of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The problem with fentanyl is that people are unaware of the dosage they are receiving in one pill because illegal manufacturers cut the substance several times, and they are not accurate. This is the reason why one pill can kill.
Fentanyl is more addictive than heroin and has been found to be laced with cocaine, cannabis, and e-cig juice. This spring there were two teens in the Pueblo, Colorado, area that overdosed because they bought street e-juice laced with fentanyl. Drug traffickers are driving addiction and increasing their profits by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs.
There are rainbow Fentanyl pills being sold and distributed, a marketing technique often used to entice children, such techniques have been employed for decades with a number of substances.
Where does it come from?
According to a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) intelligence report, China currently leads as the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations coming into the US. The ingredients to make the product are being sent from China to Mexico. Mexican transnational criminal operations (TCO’s) are producing increased quantities of fentanyl and illicit fentanyl-containing tablets, with some TCO’s using increasingly sophisticated clandestine laboratories and processing methods (i.e., laboratory grade glassware, unregulated chemicals, and industrial size tablet presses).
What can you do?
We talk a lot about the effect peer pressure has on teens. We can be good mentors for young people, and not just teens, but young adults as well. Many who are struggling with addiction need support not just from family and therapists, but the community, too. We need to start facing this problem with the perspective of “it takes a village.” Older family members, teachers, community leaders, and coaches — all mentors — can influence teens and young adults. Peer-to-peer mentoring has also been an effective tool. We are losing our young people at a higher rate than we should, due to this pandemic.
Stay engaged with community resources such as the Vida Del Norte Coalition, which will be providing different workshops throughout the year, to educate and combat this opioid pandemic. Vida will be hosting a free community Narcan training and workshop on Monday, Nov. 14 at 6 pm, held at the Vida Del Norte building, 62 State Rd. 38, in Questa. Narcan is a specific medication designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose administered as a spray through the nose (see Quick Facts below for more information on Narcan). Come and get trained on how and when to administer Narcan as well as discuss adverse effects of and what leads to addiction. We are taking an approach to teach about harm reduction and ways we can support our family, friends and community members. For more information contact Maria Gonzalez at (575)779-2260 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be on the lookout, fake pills are everywhere:
• According to DEA lab testing: 4 out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose (U.S. Justice Dept., One Pill Can Kill: Counterfeit Pills Factsheet, https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2021-12/DEA-OPCK_FactSheet_December%202021.pdf
• DEA seized more than 20.4 million fake pills in 2021 and 15,000 pounds of fentanyl (U.S. Dept. of Justice, DEA Reveals Criminal Drug Networks Are Flooding the U.S. with Deadly Fentanyl, https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2021/12/16/dea-reveals-criminal-drug-networks-are-flooding-us-deadly-fentanyl
• Fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms (U.S. Dept. of Justice, One Pill Can Kill, https://www.dea.gov/onepill
• NARCAN, (https://www.narcan.com/#what-is-narcan)