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Fentanyl Use Prevention

Fentanyl Use Prevention

The health and safety of our students and staff are a high priority. Therefore, it is important to share some concerning trends we are seeing in California regarding opioids, specifically the drug fentanyl. Fentanyl, an extremely potent and dangerous synthetic opioid, is 80-100 times more potent than morphine and 40-50 times more potent than heroin and, as a result, is a major cause of overdose for unsuspecting individuals.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency recently identified a new trend in which “rainbow fentanyl” appears in bright colors and in many forms, including pills, powder, and blocks that can resemble sidewalk chalk or candy. It can resemble the candy Smarties, so it’s especially important to be alert around Halloween time. Please share with your children that any pill (regardless of its color, shape, or size) that does not come from a health care provider or pharmacist can contain fentanyl and can be deadly. Oftentimes, people purchasing or taking these pills are unaware that they contain fentanyl.

Things You Can Do:

1. If you’re concerned someone in your life is at risk for opioid overdose, have on-hand the overdose reversal medication naloxone (Narcan). Narcan has no adverse side effects and is available without a physician prescription at most pharmacies.

2. If you find any pills that you are unfamiliar with, do not touch them. Call local law enforcement for removal.

3. Speak with your student about this information so they know the risks of buying or sharing prescription medication or other drugs, and that fake pills are out there.

4. Call local law enforcement if you or your student have seen these rainbow-colored pills. Speaking up may save a friend’s life!

5. Contact the 24/7 Mental Health & Substance Use Access & Assessment Hotline (888-724-7240) to get help for a friend or loved one struggling with substance abuse.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) opioid-related overdose deaths in California’s youth ages 10-19 years increased from 2018 (54 total) to 2020 (274 total), marking a 407 percent increase over two years, largely driven by fentanyl. Additionally, fentanyl-related overdose deaths in California’s youth ages 10-19 years increased from 2018 (36 total) to 2020 (261 total), a 625 percent increase. As a school community, it’s important for us all to be informed and work in partnership to keep our students safe.

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