Countries consider fentanyl education with increased adolescent mortality

Goff Justice announces a $20 million expansion of nursing education programs

at least two countries – Oregon And Texas Legislation requiring schools to provide lessons about the dangers of fentanyl use is being considered as concerns remain about overdose rates and students’ lack of knowledge.

In addition, many localities have proactively raised awareness about fentanyl poisoning through the school lessonsand community forums and Post information and resources on their websites.

Advocates for fentanyl awareness, including parents who have lost children to fentanyl poisoning, said exposure to prevention information specifically on fentanyl and synthetic opioids is vital to eliminating overdoses and deaths.

“If they had known — not all of them, but many of them — they might have made a different choice,” said John Epstein, who, along with his wife Jennifer Epstein, advocates for the Oregon bill and similar measures elsewhere.

John and Jennifer Epstein’s son Cal died at the age of 18 in 2020 after Take the pill without a doubt that contained fentanyl.

School lessons

Oregon’s bill — SB 238 — would include education about counterfeit and counterfeit pills, which the US Drug Enforcement Agency has warned could contain inconsistent and potentially lethal amounts of fentanyl. these Fake pills They’re designed to look just like legitimate prescription drugs—like OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Xanax, and others—and they’ve been found in every state in the country, DEA officials said.

The legislation would also require the Oregon Health Authority, the state Board of Education, and the Alcohol and Drug Policy Committee to collaborate in developing curriculum supplements that would include education about the state’s immunity laws that protect those who report drug or alcohol use or seek medical help from for themselves or others. If approved, the legislation will take effect on July 1, 2024.

The Texas proposal – HB 3908 – would require fentanyl prophylaxis and drug poisoning education in grades 6-12 for at least 10 hours annually. If the bill is passed by a two-thirds vote, it becomes effective immediately. If passed with lower support, it will become effective September 1, 2023.

Advocates in both states said the bills have bipartisan support and are expected to pass.

Between the second half of 2019 and the second half of 2021, Adolescent and pre-adolescent mortality Of illicit fentanyl increased by 182% with fake pills accounting for 25% of deaths, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 84% of drug overdose deaths in children ages 10-19 are related to illegally manufactured fentanyl.

knowledge gap

Although there are increased federal, state, and local awareness campaigns about the dangers of fentanyl, which can be fatal in an amount as small as 2 milligrams, some surveys show limited knowledge among students.

A survey conducted by the Song for Charlie advocacy group for fentanyl awareness found that 58% of teens ages 13 to 17 Fentanyl has been described as dangerouswhich is slightly higher than the 54% of those who said cigarettes are dangerous.

However, another data point shows progress Narrowing the knowledge gap. Among people ages 13 to 24 surveyed by Song for Charlie, 68% in 2022 said fentanyl was dangerous compared to 63% in 2021.

The fentanyl epidemic took years, starting with prescription opioid abuse, then heroin and now illicit fentanyl, said Jennifer Epstein, director of the Song Outreach and Education Program in Charlie’s. “It will take years to fix, so we need children to understand what the risks are so they can protect themselves,” she said.

John Epstein said drug prevention and intervention can be a complex issue, but that the school curriculum would “fill a gap” in helping students and schools understand the dangers of fentanyl.

In Texas, Stephanie Turner lobbied for the bill entitled “Tucker’s Law,” named after her son Tucker Roe, who died at age 19 in 2021 after taking what he thought was a Percocet pill. Turner now Share Tucker’s story Hoping to prevent others from the same grief.