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  • Kimberly Hix

What you need to know about Fentanyl

Fentanyl is often mixed into other substances or marketed as substances other than fentanyl, such as prescription medications. This can be dangerous because individuals often consume fentanyl without knowing it or meaning to, which can result in accidental overdoses or death.

Fentanyl is often added to:

  • Powders (like cocaine)

  • Capsules

  • Pressed pills meant to look like prescription medications (like Xanax or Oxy/M30s)

  • … and much more!

Additionally, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), about 70% or more of all counterfeit pills tested contained a lethal dose of fentanyl. This figure is particularly alarming because it can be difficult to distinguish genuine pills from fake or counterfeit versions. Check out the examples below to see how counterfeit pills can be designed to look just like genuine pharmaceuticals.

Why is it being added to street drugs? Fentanyl is much cheaper to make than other opioids. It is also easier to smuggle because small amounts are very powerful. It is a lot easier to smuggle in a baggie of Fentanyl powder than kilogram bricks of other drugs for the same profit margin. In addition, it is highly addictive making individuals wanting/needing to buy more as they chase their first high. Because Fentanyl is cheap and so highly addictive, it creates a much greater profit margin. The occasional loss of one or two users are not detrimental to their bottom line because they know that another addict can be easily created.

Keep an eye on your kid's backpack, room, car, or phone. Fentanyl is most often smoked using a pill crusher, small piece of tinfoil, lighter, and straw to inhale the smoke. Other items indicating use may be needles, small mirrors, scales, blotter paper, unlabelled candies, blue M-30 pills, Xanax "bars", or other pills/tablets/capsules.

Be aware of what your child is doing on their phone. Pills and other drugs are now often purchased through SnapChat, Gaming Platform "chat" functions, and other dark web sites. Today, there are about 9,300 websites selling drugs illegally on the darkweb. According to the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, ONE in FIVE teens have already tried prescription drugs illegally. The majority, 76 percent of these teenagers, buy these prescription pills illegally.

Check your kid's phones for unusual words like Blues, Blueberries, Apache, China Girl, China Town, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Jackpot, King Ivory, Murder 8, Tango & Cash, f3nt, TNT, fluff, tabs, vikes, hydros, vitamins, ercs, or 30s. However, these "code" words change frequently so pay attention to any odd abbreviations or words. (CDC/DEA)

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