Teen fentanyl overdoses are on the rise across the nation and public schools are stopping up on Narcan to combat the issue.
The opioid pandemic has wreaked havoc all across the United States. Powerful drugs like fentanyl have seen a spike in abuse since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, even among kids. Teen fentanyl use is becoming more of a common finding, and schools are reacting by stocking up on Narcan to prevent more deaths.
Narcan is a counteractive drug used to reverse the effects of fentanyl. The opioid is found in dangerous street drugs such as heroin and meth, molly. Recently, it has been found laced in more popular drugs like cocaine. As reports of teen fentanyl overdoses perpetually rise, so does the number of schools across the country putting Narcan doses in nurses’ stations.
Baltimore, Denver, and Kansas City are just a few major city public school districts that all made the decision to distribute Narcan doses to schools. Just recently, the Hays Consolidated Independent School District in Texas joined the growing movement. School leaders came to this decision following the death of three local teens to fentanyl overdoses in the last month, according to The Daily Caller.
The Kyle, Texas district will soon stock nurses’ offices in every school with the medicine. School resource officers will also be given Narcan for use if needed as well. Additionally, the district is working to create teen fentanyl abuse training, to educate students on the severe dangers of the product in an attempt to reverse the recent uptick in young adult use.
There is a longstanding stigma that keeps many Americans from discussing the opioid crisis. For a long time, substance abusers were viewed negatively, despite the fact that addiction is known to be caused by complex brain disorders that can affect anyone regardless of their social standing. But because of this view, some fear the topic isn’t discussed enough, especially with young teens in regard to fentanyl abuse.
Schools are now urging parents to talk with their teens about fentanyl and how dangerous it can be. It is suggested that this be done in an information matter, so as to not sound condescending. Simply telling a child they shouldn’t do drugs may not hit on certain important points. Instead, share with them statistics or news stories regarding deaths related to products with fentanyl.
Similarly, make them aware of how and where the opioid can be commonly found. Oftentimes, it is placed in pills or powder form. It’s both tasteless and odorless and just a small amount the size of two grains of salt can lead to overdose and death. But most important, make them aware of Narcan, how its administered, and the common places this life-saving medicine can be found.
The death rate caused by overdoses in adolescents almost doubled from 2019 to 2020, with teen fentanyl abuse being the biggest cause of these deaths. To date, that number is only growing worse. Public schools are now joining a movement that has been hitting college campuses across the nation for years, and it appears that more and more schools will continue to add Narcan to their stockpile of medicines on hand.