Fentanyl is harming young teens in America

Teresa Balmori Perez, News Reporter

Photo from Fox News website.

Fentanyl is a deadly drug affecting numerous people across America in recent years.  With the rise in popularity among the substance, it has led it into the hands of young teens across the country, causing them harm and even death.  

According to the Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, it was first introduced in the ‘60s and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a pain reliever. The drug is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin. Unfortunately, since then, many people have abused the drug for the worse.  

During the past months, I have seen news reports of young teens using, selling, or overdosing on the drug, which is heartbreaking and mind-blowing.  

According to an article, “Young people are being targeted with brightly colored ‘rainbow fentanyl,’ government drug agency warns” by Kate Snow and Safia Samee, Snow and Samed explained that drug dealers are now making the drug more colorful in order to draw in a younger audience. People have even nicknamed the substance as “SweetTarts” and “Skittles.”  

I think that the drug’s more colorful appearance makes it easier for people to confuse it with hard candy. It would not surprise me if more news reports come out with young people accidentally overdosing on the drug for this reason.  

According to the article written by Summer Lin, “Bakersfield student, 13, arrested after middle school employee exposed to fentanyl,” a 13-year-old student from Chipman Junior High School in Bakersfield, California had been arrested for being responsible for the near-death of a school employee. The employee overdosed on the drug after being exposed to it, but is recovering at the moment.

Bakersfield is not the only city where this has been a problem. I have seen news reports from young teens overdosing in different cities such as Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego. With the recent one occurring in Los Angeles.  

CBS News reported that two suspects were arrested for selling pills to students. A 15-year-old girl named Melanie Ramos sadly overdosed due to this.  

According to the Bakersfield City School District Board of Trustees, they passed a policy on Oct. 3 that would allow staff to use Narcan, a prescription medicine used for suspected overdoses on students and staff members.  

This a great method in handling the rise of fentanyl among schools. With the proper training from the staff, I think they could potentially save many students and employees from a potential overdose.

I have a sister in high school, and my parents and I are concerned about what her school will do to prevent this from happening to students.  

Parents and schools should start educating students on the dangers of drug use, especially with the popularity of fentanyl. Whether that means having to inform them on the issue or by having parents checking to see if their kids didn’t bring any suspicious pills.  

We’ve seen the rise of vaping among teens; now, we’re seeing a rise of fentanyl across schools. It will only get worse if parents don’t talk with their kids about this situation.