Fentanyl may be a funny-looking word, but the risk it poses to our kids and our community is no laughing matter. It’s a synthetic opioid, meaning that it is created artificially in labs and used to treat patients after surgery or those in severe pain (such as late-stage cancer patients). Fentanyl is closely derived from morphine, which is a naturally occurring opioid; however, fentanyl is about 80 to 100 times stronger.
Unsurprisingly, this powerful drug has made its way onto the black market and has emerged onto our streets. Fentanyl can be absorbed through medical patches or injections and can also be taken in pill form. The really dangerous part of this drug is that it is often disguised to look like other drugs or is laced with other drugs. Drug dealers use fentanyl as a replacement or additive to other drugs because of its cost-effectiveness. A very small amount of fentanyl produces a big high, which puts more money in dealer’s pockets as they minimize their use of more expensive substances.
Fentanyl is the number one cause of drug overdose in the United States, rising from 14% of drug-related deaths in 2010 to 59% by 2017.
Though it is often not taken purposefully, a run-in with fentanyl one time can lead to death; even in survivors, severe organ damage and long-term psychosis are common effects. It also has a heightened risk of a condition known as hypoxia. Hypoxia slows breathing and the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. This results in lasting brain damage, coma, or even death.
If this wasn’t bad enough, opioid drugs such as fentanyl show an increase in addiction because of how they affect brain chemistry. The brain adapts to the drug after prolonged use and makes it much harder to derive pleasure from anything besides the drug itself. That means that one hit can leave your kiddo chasing that high again and again.
Even buying marijuana through illegal avenues can lead to life-threatening results, simply because we never know what it could be laced with, and there are no guarantees of its safety. So, parents, it’s time to educate yourself on the fentanyl epidemic and have a conversation with your kids. For more information on fentanyl, visit us at ClearforkAcademy.com, drugabuse.gov, or samhsa.gov.
If your child is struggling with substance abuse or mental health, Clearfork Academy is here to help. Our clinical admissions specialists are available 24/7 to help with your unique situation. Please call us at 888-966-8604, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at www.ClearforkAcademy.com.