What’s Going On?
Deaths from fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills are rising across the country, including in our school district. We’ve lost several students to fentanyl-related poisonings in the last 18 months — teenagers with hopes, dreams, and plans. These teenagers had loving families who were still dealing with their losses.
Teens purchase what they believe to be OxyContin, Percoset, or Xanax pills on social media. Still, drug dealers are manufacturing these counterfeit pills fentanyl, a cheaper, more potent, and more lethal synthetic drug. Fentanyl has up to 50 times the potency of heroin and 100 times the potency of morphine. Fentanyl has no odor, taste, or color. Teens never know what they’re going to get.
The pills are known as “Blues” because of their standard color. (though they can also come in other colors) or “M30s” because of the stamp on the pills. Even experienced users claim they can’t tell the difference between a counterfeit pill and a pill manufactured by a pharmaceutical company. These are pills, not pharmaceutical-grade painkillers.
Manufactured Pills: No Quality Assurance
They are Manufactured by drug dealers, most of whom are located outside the country. There is no quality assurance. Fentanyl levels in pills from the same batch can vary greatly. The amount of fentanyl required to overdose and die is the same as 2 grains of sand.
The Centers will do it for Disease Control and Prevention to release a report in December 2020 issuing a health warning. In response to an increase in synthetic opioids in the western United States, specifically the Interstate 5 corridor.
Local investigators point to ads on social media platforms such as Snapchat. According to officials, young people are drawn to pills because they are inexpensive, more socially acceptable than meth or heroin, and lack the odor of alcohol or marijuana.
Investigators recently noted that the use of fentanyl-laced pills has decreased slightly and has shifted to more “colorful” powdered methods to attract youth.
We collaborated with the Washington County Public Health Department, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Beaverton Police Department to spread awareness of the risks of purchasing pills over the internet. Used social media to notify the district and schools.
Our middle, high, and option school students were taught about fentanyl in their health and advisory classes. Our administrators and employees were given specialized fentanyl training. In addition, we held a Community Conversation with local experts and affected family members about the dangers of fentanyl.
REST IN PEACE: The teen girl who died from an overdose on the Hollywood high school campus has been identified as 15-year-old Melanie Ramos. 🙏🏻💔 https://t.co/wOPl0egGYD pic.twitter.com/lPLYD1cpxS
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) September 15, 2022
A health warning was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. in response to an increase in synthetic opioids in the western United States, specifically the Interstate 5 corridor.
This year, the Westside Interagency Narcotics Team in Washington County has seized more than 17,000 pills, the majority suspected of being counterfeit “M30” Oxycodone pills, compared to fewer than 14,000 pills taken in all of 2020.
How can you assist?
One of the best ways to stay safe for children from substance abuse is to educate them about the risks regularly and openly. Listen to them without passing judgment. Monitor their social media usage as well. Drugs are frequently offered by a friend or a stranger they meet on social media.
Keep an eye out for changes in their behavior, such as:
- Unusual eating or sleeping habits
- Low power
- Symptoms of depression or anxiety in general
- Unusual irritability
- Graduation problems
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Significant changes in clothing style
- If you notice a difference, inquire about it. Believe your instincts.