EPS School Resource Officers are making presentations to Edmonton high school students about the dangers of fentanyl in hopes of preventing future overdoses and deaths.
“We really need to get the message out about fentanyl to high school students because the 17-to-25-year-olds are some of the hardest hit,” said Constable Cherie Jerebic, School Resource Officer (SRO). “We know the message will not stop there, these students will continue the conversation at home with their friends, parents and family.”
Constable Jerebic, the Austin O’Brian High School SRO, begins the first of the presentations to approximately 870 students at her school on Feb. 11, 2016. Over the next few months, SROs will deliver the presentation to approximately 29,000 students at 21 Edmonton high schools.
Post 2010, as more and more people were becoming addicted to illegally-obtained oxycodone, provincial governments began to tighten control over the drug making it harder to get on the street. Predictably, criminals found a market. Fentanyl is now as easy to purchase on the street as marijuana. This synthetic opiate is usually sold in pill form, but has recently been detected in other street drugs. Like many street drugs, illegal fentanyl is being manufactured in home labs where quality control is nonexistent.
Fentanyl is an opioid narcotic 100 times more toxic than morphine; a dose the size of two grains of salt can be lethal. What makes this killer particularly sinister is that drug dealers may, or may not, tell the buyer there is fentanyl in the product. Many youth take fentanyl unknowingly, and many pay the ultimate price.
According to Alberta Health Services, fentanyl killed 272 people in 2015. The number of deaths from the drug has more than tripled since 2014, while in 2012 it was linked directly to only six deaths.
Fentanyl overdose may be the single largest public health threat in Alberta. Fentanyl is highly addictive and overdose occurs both with first-time users and long-term addicts; however, this outcome is preventable.
Constable Jerebic adds “Little green apples, fenties, greenies, eighties, shady eighties, and fake oxy are all candy-coated street names for a killer drug that is readily available to our youth. EPS wants to make every effort to provide accurate information to youth about the risks of fentanyl, so they can make good decisions when knowingly or unknowingly encountering this very dangerous drug.”
For more information on fentanyl, including prevention resources, please visit www.drugsfool.ca.