Fentanyl Prevention Education in Schools
By Michael DeLeon
We are well past the time to educate students, teachers, parents and every community across America on fentanyl and its dangers.
While teen drug use has been on the decline for the past few years, teen deaths from overdoses increased in 2020 and 2021, and overall population deaths from fentanyl, specifically, have risen since 2016, with a sharp increase during the pandemic. The situation has escalated so much that some school districts have started to stock naloxone, a drug that can temporarily stop symptoms of an overdose. The Los Angeles Unified School District made the decision to train staff on naloxone use based on concerns about fentanyl exposure.
Oregon just recently announced a bill that would require schools to provide education on the dangers of fentanyl and they are one of the first states to consider offering drug prevention education like this. Unfortunately, it took student deaths from the powerful synthetic opioid to bring this about.
But Oregon is now taking this issue seriously with the passing of this bill by the state house and senate with bipartisan support. The bill would require several state agencies to develop curriculum that school districts would be required to use. The curriculum would cover the potential risks involved in fentanyl use and the use of other synthetic opioids and highlight laws in Oregon that provide legal immunity for people who seek treatment.
Fentanyl is more potent than other opioids like heroin and oxycodone, meaning smaller amounts can cause a lethal overdose. We are talking about doses that compare to a few grains of salt. Some drug dealers also mix substances, making it possible that a teenager who thought they were taking a different drug could be exposed to fentanyl unknowingly.
State legislation, similar to what is being done in Oregon, would start to confront this problem, requiring curriculum, such as Fentanyl: Fake & Fatal as offered by Steered Straight at www.courses.steeredstraight.org, to include information about counterfeit drugs. This kind of information is key to prevention efforts.
While most states address drug prevention in schools—either requiring schools to provide education, or state agencies to make curriculum available—fewer mandate that opioids, specifically, are covered. In many cases, teens are seeking what they think are real pharmaceutical pills to deal with anxiety or other mental health struggles. Others are looking to have ‘some fun.’ They are not seeking fentanyl, so even if they know the dangers, they are unaware of how it can be transmitted to them via other “pills.”
Every state needs to provide fentanyl curriculum so that every student, every teacher, every parent and every coach know what today’s youth are facing.
The goal is to educate with the truth about fentanyl and build skills that can support students to make safer choices.
Steered Straight has the solution. We offer a free online course, Fentanyl: Fake & Fatal, that lays out the facts about fentanyl and what it is doing to our population. It shows you where it is coming from and how it is lining the pockets of drug cartels and drug dealers with no concern for its effects on the user. It covers fake pills and where they come from, shows how fentanyl effects the body and the brain and how to treat a fentanyl overdose.
Take advantage of our free course, Fentanyl: Fake & Fatal, at the Steered Straight Learning Center at www.courses.steeredstraight.org.
Michael DeLeon is the #1 booked school presenter in America and has presented to more than 14 million students, educators and parents since 2000. He has been presenting audience-specific content on vaping and marijuana specifically since 2010 and Delta-8 and Delta-10 since 2017 fighting the lead-up to its passing in 2018. He now educates teens on fentanyl and its dangers. Steered Straight can be reached at 856-691-6676 or online at www.steeredstraight.org.