Today, there is a significant risk of overdose. Any illegal drug purchased on the street or online could likely be contaminated with fentanyl. It has become critical to speak to your kids about fentanyl and its dangers.
Fentanyl Explained—What Is It?
Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid, which means it is manufactured and not naturally occurring.
Illegal fentanyl is made to look like fake tablets, as a powder, or in combination with other drugs like cocaine or heroin.
Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin.
Individuals aged 15 to 24 are the fastest-growing population requiring hospital care from opioid overdoses.
How Are Kids Accessing Fentanyl?
Social media is the gateway to any illegal drug ever produced. Illegal substances are sold via social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and Facebook. Drug dealers advertise their products using codewords, emojis, and hashtag.
Buyers direct message or comment using codes or emojis. Conversations generally move to encrypted messaging platforms like Signal, Telegram, or WhatsApp. Payments are made online through PayPal, cryptocurrency, or Venmo. Packages are shipped by standard post.
Preventing Drug and Fentanyl Use
The best way to help your child avoid encountering fentanyl is through communication and education. Having small conversations about drugs and alcohol goes a long way and has a significant impact.
When discussing fentanyl, drug education should focus on online safety, social media safety, and online drug dealing.
Tips for Parents
Set Clear Rules
Make your values and rules clear about drugs and alcohol. Kids need clear rules and a message. It does not accomplish this when vague terms like “be smart” or “make good decisions” are used. Be specific with rules and personal values.
Listen to their opinions, answer their questions, and ask questions. Avoid lecturing, threatening, or using scare tactics. For example, ask them, “What do you know about fentanyl, marijuana, etc.” Or, “So you’ve heard you can easily buy illegal drugs online. Do you believe this is safe?” It’s ok not to agree with everything they say; it’s about making it clear you are listening.
Be a reliable source of factual information and correct wrong beliefs. Look up answers together, find factual data, and explore all available information.
Lead by Example
Lead by example because actions speak louder than words. Share personal experiences and past history, and do so openly and honestly.
Learn From Them
If your child has already used drugs or alcohol, help them explore the reasons why they chose to do this. This helps give parents a window into their possible underlying struggles.
Educate them about online safety, how to use social media in a healthy way, and how to avoid dangers on the internet, especially with fentanyl.
Helpful Fentanyl Resources
Below are helpful articles and video that provide more information on Fentanyl. The more knowledge you have on this subject the better prepared you are to protect your children from the threat of fentanyl.
What is Fentanyl?
Opioid-Related Deaths Reach Record High in Canada
How to recognize the signs of opioid poisoning and how you can help