What is illegal fentanyl?
· Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid made in a chemical lab, that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine
· Illegal Fentanyl is manufactured in a clandestine chemical laboratories where there is no quality control of production, which contributes to tablets being of lethal doses
· Two (2) milligrams of fentanyl which is equal to 10-15 grains of table salt is considered a lethal dose or one half the area of the arm of the star-fish on the Bahamian penny
· Fentanyl can come in different forms such as pills, powder and liquid
· It has been found mixed with other drugs including heroin, counterfeit pills, methamphetamine (meth) and cocaine, or even replacing them entirely
Why is fentanyl so dangerous?
· Due to its potency, a relatively small amount (approximately 2 milligrams) of fentanyl can be lethal/deadly
· Fentanyl can not be smelled or tasted, making it nearly impossible to tell if drugs contain it or have been laced with this opioid drug
· It is reported that 6 out of 10 manufactured illicit fentanyl tablets, are overdosed (2mg or more) and are potentially lethal/deadly
· Once a tablet is ingested of 2mg or more, the opioid depresses the person’s respiration (resulting in short shallowed breathing and decrease respiratory breaths) resulting in hypoxemia (low oxygen saturation in the blood stream) and consequently death
What does fentanyl look like?
· Fentanyl is available in pills, powder and liquid
· It can also be packaged as a nasal spray, eye drops, infused onto paper and into small candies
What is “rainbow fentanyl”?
· Is a newer phenomenon in which fentanyl is mixed with dyes and either pressed into brightly colored pills or sold as powder in various colours
· These dyes make the drug attractive to younger children, teenagers and adolescents
What are the signs of a fentanyl overdose?
· Small constricted “pinpoint” pupils
· Person falling asleep or losing consciousness or overly sedated
· Slow, weak or cessation of breathing
· Choking or gurgling sounds or deep snoring
· Limp body
· Cold and or clammy skin
· Discolored lips and nails
What is NARCAN?
· Narcan contains Naloxone which is a life-saving medication that rapidly reverses the effects of illegal fentanyl effects
· Naloxone comes in an injectable form or nasal spray and works by blocking the effects of the fentanyl or other opioid drug, and can restore normal breathing within 2-3 minuets
· Naloxone is safe to use if you suspect any type of opioid overdose
What should you do if you suspect a fentanyl overdose?
· CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
· Administer the life-saving medication NARCAN, if you have it in intranasal spray
· Attempt to keep the person awake and breathing
· Turn the person on their side to prevent choking
· Stay with the person until paramedics arrive
What are strategies to prevent your young persons from using drugs?
Be Honest and Direct: sitting down and having a direct, open and honest conversation about drugs, temptation, negative peer pressure and the deleterious effects such as drug overdoses, problematic drug usage and addiction, before they commence college or university, is strongly advised to prevent their future use. You may want to discuss with your young adults, your own past drug use or one of your family members' struggles with drug usage and addiction
Give Them Praise: If you have an awesome teen i.e, good grades, whom is sweet and compassionate, well rounded and drug free, do CELEBRATE them. A small amount of positive reinforcement can go a long way. You may never know that you may become your teen's inner voice, that gives them the strength to reject drugs when they are offered drugs to experiment with by their peers or associates
Inform them of the illegal consequences of using drugs: Its not about scaring them, but it is about informing them about the reality of drug usage, drug misuse and irresponsible use of drugs. Getting caught with illegal/illicit drugs, could land them in serious trouble with the law/criminal justice system. Inform them of real life cases where young persons who were caught with illegal drugs on their person, suffered the serious consequences of the law e.g. driving whilst under the influence-DWIs of drugs; simple possession of illegal drugs
For further enquiries do email your questions to <firstname.lastname@example.org> or call to make an appointment with me at 242-327-8719 or 242-327-8718. You may read additional information on this topic at <www.drugabuse.gov>