What Can We Do to Stop the Deadly Use of Fentanyl?

08/20/2015 05:31 EDT | Updated 08/20/2016 05:59 EDT
Joe Amon via Getty Images
Fentanyl Citrate, a CLASS II Controlled Substance as classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency in the secure area of a local hospital Friday, July10, 2009. Joe Amon / The Denver Post (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Yesterday someone I know asked me why I wasn't writing anything on my blog about fentanyl -- which has become such a horrific problem lately. Although I had thought a few times about perhaps addressing it, I would stop myself with this thought:

"What could I say that hasn't already been covered in the news? What could I possibly add that would be of any value?"

I'm glad my friend challenged me about this, because today I see that I've made a mistake by thinking that way. So I'm writing about it now -- but from a different perspective than other media stories I've heard.

There really isn't much for me to add in terms of the factual information being imparted to us whenever we catch the news on TV or the radio. I'm aware that using this drug in even tiny doses is potentially deadly -- it seems that all it really takes to kill someone is two grams of it, apparently equivalent to two grains of salt. Not being a scientist or medical person, all I can do is take what I'm being told as truth. But even if some of the information is inaccurate or downright wrong, this fact remains -- people are dying because of fentanyl, and we need to do whatever we possibly can to stop it.

The irony as I see it is that, for the most part, the very people who are continuing to die or become extremely ill from fentanyl-laced drugs are often the very people who don't watch or listen to the newscasts about it. Most of them are our youth, many of whom would rather watch just about anything else on TV than be bored by the evening news.

Or they are people on the street who are too busy scrambling to stay alive, or who are perhaps homeless -- and these folks are definitely not going to be sitting in their cushy living rooms watching the 6 o'clock news as they prepare their dinner.

As a result, it stands to reason that those of us who are less likely to use these substances that can kill us are the very people who need to carry the message -- however we can -- to the ones who may not know the potentially deadly evil that faces them every time they choose to get high.

Parents and educators, listen up -- we are the ones who need to be talking about this the most.

As we know, talking to kids about drugs can be difficult, even intimidating for a parent, teacher, or counsellor. It's hard when the children we care about so deeply roll their eyes at us and say, "Yeah, I know!!" -- as if they really do and think we're crazy for even bringing it up. But often they don't know, not until someone's death touches them -- and when it comes to this malicious and criminal spread of fentanyl, we have to make sure they do know.

So let's not allow ourselves to be intimidated by our children -- even our adult children. Let's stop caring if they get upset with us for talking with them about things they'd rather not discuss. Let's not worry about our own precious egos -- and let's save our children's lives. Let's drive it home and drive it home, and drive it home again until they can hear our words in their sleep.

So that the next time they think about trying that pill or injecting that heroin or even smoking that pot -- they think again. And maybe, as they're considering the potential risks you've told them about, they'll warn the other kids they're with. Maybe our words really can make a difference.

Could there be a better, more courageous way for us to show our children that we love them?


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