Fentanyl poisonings on the rise

Faye Wescott, Assistant Editor

In recent months, the uprise in fentanyl poisonings has had detrimental effects on not only adults but teens across the nation. These lacings are taking the state by storm, with dealers now disguising fentanyl to look like candy and other appealing products. 

From being laced within drugs to being disguised as food, fentanyl now comes in many deadly forms. In an attempt to bring in more money, this drug is being designed to target kids and teens as well as adults. 

“So we generally see it in the pill forms, but now we’re seeing it in a rainbow-colored fashion,” CHS resource officer Dylan Mayer said. “It’s a bit scary because it looks like candy and smarties, so that’s a big area of concern for us, especially the kids.”  

Even very small doses of fentanyl can have fatal repercussions, most of the time users being unaware of how much they’re actually ingesting. One could consume a minuscule quantity of fentanyl and still overdose from a lethal amount in the system.

“It can be anywhere,” Mayer said. “I mean, if you look at how little fentanyl you’d be exposed to have a negative reaction to it, it’s pretty terrifying. It’s not worth it. You just don’t know how it’s going to react to your body or how much is in it.”

Fentanyl has had more lethal effects on subjects than most other drugs. The power this narcotic holds is enough to kill a victim in minutes. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S.” 

Many high schools across California are now required to be prepared for any fentanyl-related emergencies, mandating that school health departments have the antidote (Narcan) on hand. 

“We have Narcan available and all of our staff, including myself, have been trained on how to use it,” CHS Health Technician Zahdya Miranda said.

Not only do students have to be aware of what substances they are receiving, but who they are receiving them from. It has been found that some who overdosed on fentanyl received it from a subject who did not realize they were even in possession of the drug.

“My biggest concern is kids giving each other medication because even Tylenol or Advil could be laced with it,” Miranda said. “So don’t take anything from anyone, don’t eat any candy from an open bag. You don’t know what it is, even if it’s your friend, because they could’ve gotten it from somebody else. Just be careful.”