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What to know about fentanyl and why it’s so dangerous


You may want to explain that sometimes people take these drugs because they are depressed, have trouble sleeping, or have untreated pain, but there are better and safer ways to deal with these issues, and that they can and should talk to you if they ever need help or have questions.

“Focus on not blaming, not assuming, expressing concern, asking for two minutes to share information,” Dr. Banta-Green said. Josh McKivigan, a Pittsburgh-based licensed adolescent therapist, added that the goal is “to break down the taboo and keep the conversations going.” If you feel like you can’t have these conversations with your child, ask a trusted adult, such as a coach, family friend, or parent, to talk to them for you.

It can also help find time each week to connect with teens, without nagging them or talking to them about breaking rules or schoolwork, McKivigan said. Building rapport and trust with children helps ensure that if they have problems with drugs, they will come to you for help. “They know you’re going to be there for them, that you’re invested in hearing them out,” he said.

When a person overdoses on fentanyl, breathing slows and the skin, especially the nail beds and lips, often takes on a bluish tint from a lack of oxygen, Dr. Jones said. He teaches people to try to wake individuals up by rubbing them firmly with their knuckles in the center of the chest. “If you rub their breastbone firmly and they don’t wake up or respond, they’re probably in trouble,” he said.

If you think someone is overdosing, “don’t wait — call 911 right away,” Dr. Jones said, again because fentanyl overdoses can lead to death so quickly. If you’re concerned that a loved one might be exposed to fentanyl — for example, if he or she or friends are occasionally experimenting with drugs that might be contaminated — you can also buy naloxone, a drug that can quickly reverse an overdose. of opioids. . He also recommended training in its use, having it with you at all times and administering it as soon as possible if someone appears to be overdosing.

There’s a common belief that naloxone doesn’t treat fentanyl overdoses, but that’s not true, said Julie O’Donnell, an epidemiologist and overdose expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Most states protect individuals from liability or prosecution if they dispense or distribute naloxone. Most states also have Good Samaritan laws that protect those who call 911 from prosecution for crimes related to Drugs.)

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