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Parent’s Guide to Fentanyl

Last updated on: Friday, 3 May 2024

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Fentanyl poses a great danger to today’s generation. The fact that it is usually hidden and undetectable makes it even more hazardous. Most people don’t realize their drugs are laced with fentanyl, which is why it’s vital to be aware of its risks. Parents, guardians and educators have a responsibility to equip children & teens with drug prevention education in order to keep them safe from the growing substance abuse risk.

Preventing Fentanyl Use

Substance misuse prevention starts with education. As parents or guardians, how we present drug use (or avoidance of it) to our children can go a long way in how they apply it. Since fentanyl is often added to illegal drugs, the most reliable way to protect against its use is to avoid using all drugs. Open communication and education are instrumental in achieving this goal.

In the context of fentanyl, drug awareness should involve educating people about safety when using the internet, the extreme danger of this substance and its ability to be 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?

Due to the internet and social media, teenagers today have an easier way to get a hold of illegal drugs. Social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Snapchat are all avenues through which teens can purchase drugs. 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

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Drug traffickers have been utilizing social media networks as a platform for their marketing and sales activities. Buyers are able to find what they’re looking for by using simple keywords, emojis, hashtags, and other communication tactics. Drug traffickers are known to post and share stories on different platforms to promote their activities. Even when accounts are shut down, they just create new ones and continue the same activity.

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 is a highly concerning situation, especially when the majority of drugs purchased through this means are contaminated with fentanyl. Young people who assume they are trying out a “safe” drug can find themselves in serious danger.

Why Fentanyl is Hard to Avoid

Fortunately, not many young people are trying to intentionally use fentanyl due to its high risk. Unfortunately, however, a lot of unsuspecting individuals have stumbled upon it and been put in harm’s way. This is because it is used as an additive to many illicit drugs. The presence of fentanyl in illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine, meth and even marijuana is a growing concern. Counterfeit pills that are designed to look like legitimate prescription meds have also been known to contain fentanyl. This puts teenagers experimenting with these substances at greater risk of harm.

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.

Additional Fentanyl Resources for Parents

Helpful Resources

The Facts About Fentanyl

Information about Fentanyl from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health

Fentanyl’s Path of Death and Destruction

An article from the Canadian Public Health Association

Let's talk About Opioids, Including Fentanyl

Information how to talk to your kids about the dangers of opioids, by Drug-Free Kids Canada.

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CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.

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