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Talk To Your Kids Now About Fentanyl



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One of the more traumatic and recurring experiences for some of our Newtown Bee staffers is being stationed near our office emergency communications radio when a drug overdose call comes in punctuated by the news that the victim is “unconscious and unresponsive.”

What plays out in the subsequent minutes are dispatches that may indicate “CPR is in progress” or “Narcan has been administered.” On good days, those reports are followed by “patient is breathing” or “conscious and responding.”

On bad days, the radio traffic may indicate that the overdose victim is “cold to the touch” or a “likely untimely” death. With that, responders rushing to the scene are slowed or called off, and the eventual “time of pronouncement” is broadcast, affirming the fatality.

This prompts one of Newtown’s finest or an officer from another agency to make contact with the next of kin and deliver the horrific news nobody ever wants to hear. Once notified, the surviving family and loved ones are left to handle all the grueling but necessary business related to funerals and burials — and what will likely be a lifetime of regrets, guilt, and repetitive asking of the unanswerable question: why?

In Newtown, drug overdose deaths may be limited to a few each year, but we know these “bad days” impacted the loved ones and families of 1,378 Connecticut residents in 2020. That’s 14% more than in 2019, and about 1,250 more between January 1 and November 7, 2021, according to the latest state Department of Public Health (DPH) data.

The report also clarifies the number of these deaths caused by fentanyl or “fentanyl analog” nearly doubled between 2020 and 2021, and that the average percentage of fentanyl involved deaths was at 85% for 2020 and 86% as of November 2021.

Furthermore, of the more than 7,500 fatal overdoses since 2015, about 470 were people ages 15-24, with one age 14 or under. Tragically, we know this deadly trend is continuing with a vengeance in 2022.

Arguably, the most high profile fentanyl overdose death so far this year happened January 13, involving a 13-year-old Hartford middle school student. State lawmakers are already reacting, vowing legislation in the coming session that would require the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) be available in schools along with expanded training for educators on what to do if they believe a child is using opioids.

In the meantime, parents and those who love and possess the trust and confidence of youngsters must command their undivided attention and warn them about fentanyl and other new and deadly opioids that are proliferating today. While youngsters prone to experimenting may trust the friend sharing their drug, they have no idea where it came from or what it may contain.

Locally, nonprofits such as Newtown Parent Connection stand ready to assist parents, caregivers, and even educators on this critical survival mission, along with providing proven help and support to those who have lost loved ones to an overdose.

While it is sadly certain warnings will not be heeded by every kid or young adult tempted to “try this,” hopefully, heartfelt conversations combined with local, state, and community resources will reduce the potential number of overdose deaths our Newtown community will suffer in the months and years to come.

But do not wait. Talk to your kids now. Tomorrow may be too late.

Comments are open. Be civil.
1 comment
  1. qstorm says:

    Also be sure to talk to your congressmen. China makes the fentanyl and Mexico sends it to us via open border.

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