In 2021, 77% of all teen overdose deaths involved the drug fentanyl…
For the first time in a decade, youth overdose rates are going up instead of down. In fact, the number of teen overdose deaths doubled between 2019 and 2020. But data shows that teens are actually less likely to be using substances than before the pandemic… so what’s the reason for all of these overdose deaths?
In the past couple years, the number of counterfeit pills that have been identified by law enforcement has skyrocketed. The majority of these fake pills are manufactured by drug gangs and are made to look like real pharmaceutical pills – like xanax or vicodin. But these fake pills don’t actually contain any of the real chemical compounds that make up these prescription drugs. Instead, these counterfeit pills are made out of a drug called fentanyl.
Fentanyl belongs to the class of drugs called opioids, which are used to reduce pain. This category also includes morphine, oxycodone and heroin. But fentanyl is a newer chemical formula that is 50-100 times stronger than other opiates while only needing a fraction of the dose. The pharmaceutical uses of fentanyl are great for things such as cancer therapies and surgery, but outside of these uses, fentanyl is incredibly dangerous.
The difference between a fentanyl high and a fentanyl death is only a few milligrams – the size of a few grains of sand.
These fake pills are illegally made in garages and basements by unqualified drug makers who do not measure the amount of fentanyl in every pill. Each pill can contain a different amount of illicit fentanyl making the dose of each pill impossible to predict. With only the equivalent of a few grains of sand standing between a fatal overdose, would you want to trust these drug gangs with your life?
Fentanyl-laced fake pills are currently out there in Kansas City and are killing KC teens. It’s estimated that one-third of all pills sold on the black market contain fentanyl. If a pill doesn’t come directly from a pharmacy, there’s a big chance that pill might be a fake and could possibly be deadly.
Don’t trust random pills. If you aren’t prescribed a medication, you can’t trust that any pill you come across isn’t laced with fentanyl. Even if your best friend offers and promises it’s not dangerous, don’t take a risk that could turn you into another statistic.