Summer is an optimal time for teens to relax, vacation with their families, attend summer camps or gain work experience. However, summer is not the time for parents to let their guard down about the real dangers of fentanyl in our community.
Since 2018, the County of Fresno has lost 288 lives to this poison. One life lost to fentanyl is too many. 288 is unspeakable.
During the last two and a half years in my role as your District Attorney, I prioritized educating every community group, school, and parent on the reality of what fentanyl is and why it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
The message does not stop once the PowerPoint presentation is done, which is why it’s imperative that the conversation about fentanyl continues between you and your children.
Every parent should know these six facts about the dangers of fentanyl and how to prevent fentanyl use:
1. Monitor Social Media Platforms:
Most of the fentanyl pills and powder are being sold on social media platforms. Apps such as Snapchat, What’s App, Twitch, Instagram, etc. should be actively monitored for any signs of dealers reaching out to your child. Different lingo is used to solicit buyers with phrases such as “M30, percs, blues, tango and cash, and xannie bars.”
2. Be Aware of Their Social Circles:
Know who your children are associating with during the summer. Look for changes in friend groups or certain behaviors.
3. Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Use:
Look for signs such as drowsiness, sedation, confusion, disorientation, slurred speech, pin-point pupils, change in sleeping patterns, lack of good hygiene, unkept bedrooms and withdrawal. Often, young adults are found deceased from fentanyl poisoning while they are laying in their beds where their family members believed they were just listening to music, playing video games or sleeping.
4. Influence of Vaping and Marijuana Use:
Based on investigations and interviews, vaping and marijuana use cause anxiety due to the higher THC levels found in marijuana today. This increased anxiety leads the user to seek out drugs such as Xanax. Sadly, the “Xanax” they receive is a fake one laced with fentanyl.
5. Naloxone aka “Narcan”:
This medication is used to reverse an opioid/fentanyl overdose, and if administered timely, can prevent a death. We encourage all parents to keep Narcan on hand, not only for their own children, but also for others who may be users and visiting your residence.
6. Cash Apps:
Users purchase drugs using cash apps such as Venmo and Zelle. The average price for a counterfeit pill is $5-10. Parents should monitor all cash apps and should be aware that dealers will often deliver the pill(s), which are easily concealed, directly to the user’s home and simply drop it off in a location where it is undetected and easily accessible to the user.
Together, through effective education and awareness resources, we can save lives.
Even if substance use is the last thing you think you need to worry about with your child, perhaps an open conversation and their awareness could help save a life.
We wish you a safe and memory-filled summer!
Lisa A. Smittcamp