November 24, 2022
November 24, 2022
JLos Angeles County Public Health has issued a health alert about counterfeit fentanyl-tainted pills causing fatal overdoses in teens.
Four high school students were found to overdose following the purchase and use of counterfeit narcotic pills. One of them was found dead on campus.
It’s a growing trend that affects both adults and children. According to the public health alert, fentanyl was identified in about 77% of teen overdose deaths nationwide last year.
Fentanyl is a very potent synthetic opioid. It is colorless and odorless. But it can cause rapid respiratory depression, leading to accidental death.
It’s never too early to talk about alcohol and drugs. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 10% of 12-year-olds say they have tried alcohol, with that figure rising to 50% by age 15. About 3,300 children as young as 12 try marijuana every day.
Parents have a significant influence on their children’s decision to experiment with alcohol and drugs. Public health officials, aware of the drug-related health alert, offer these recommended actions for parents and the public:
• Parents and guardians should talk about drug use with teens
• Parents and guardians should use honest language that emphasizes their values and concerns about drug use.
• Open conversations that evoke adolescent understanding and experiences are more effective than lecturing and using scare tactics
• Parents and guardians should consider that not all young people show immediate behavioral changes if they use substances, so they should engage in age-appropriate conversations with their children about substance use .
• If young people use substances, parents and guardians should explore the reasons for substance use. For teens who regularly use substances, a professional assessment may be needed
• Avoid the use of substances from uncertain sources
• Test substances for the presence of fentanyl using fentanyl test strips. Fentanyl test strips identify medications contaminated with fentanyl and can help individuals make informed decisions about the medications they use. Fentanyl test strips can be purchased online at: Team Awareness Combating Overdose Inc: http://www.tacoinc.org/teststrips
• Avoid consuming substances alone. If substance abuse occurs, use with someone you trust who can intervene in the event of an overdose. Never Use Alone (http://neverusealone.com) is an organization offering telephone support while individuals are using a substance and can notify emergency services if the individual stops responding
• Obtain naloxone for overdose rescues. Health care providers may prescribe naloxone to patients who are at increased risk for opioid overdose or who have family members, including children, at risk for accidental ingestion or opioid overdose. Participating pharmacies in California can also provide naloxone without a prescription, although availability depends on the pharmacy and pharmacist. There are also community access points for naloxone. Google National Harm Reduction Coalition online for details.
• Get treatment for substance use disorders. Find addiction treatment services and bed availability in Los Angeles using an online filterable service locator known as Services and Bed Availability, at www.RecoverLA.org on their mobile devices , or by calling the Addiction Service Helpline. Services include outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment, residential treatment, withdrawal management, and opioid treatment programs.
Start the conversation now. Honest conversations about unhealthy alcohol and drug use, addiction, and risk factors can help vulnerable young minds make informed decisions.