Fentanyl Awareness — What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl has become increasingly prevalent all across the Portland-Metro area and the nation, including in West Linn and Wilsonville. Often times, fentanyl is disguised as Adderall, Percocet, Oxycodone, Xanax, or other pills.
These pills are not pharmaceutical-grade medications. Most of the time, fentanyl is coming across the border from Mexican cartels in the form of powder. It's then pressed into counterfeit pills which look exactly like tablets manufactured by legitimate pharmaceutical companies, but there's no quality control. Pills in the same batch can have wildly varying levels of fentanyl. The amount of fentanyl that it takes to overdose and die is equivalent to two grains of sand. Fentanyl can also be found in street drugs like cocaine, heroin, and MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly).
According to local law enforcement, drug dealers are targeting teens. Law enforcement investigators point to advertisements on social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok. Officials say that young people find pills especially appealing because they're cheap, more socially acceptable than meth or heroin, and don't have a tell-tale smell like alcohol or marijuana. In general, kids see pills as being "safe," and many teens have never heard about fentanyl and its dangers. It's also important to consider that most teens who use pills do not fit the dated and stereotypical notion of a drug user. Often, teens are seeking out what they think are real pharmaceutical pills to deal with anxiety or other mental health struggles, while others are looking to experiment.
The most important message to share with your teen is that these pills are not harmless, and that one pill can kill.
Thank you to the Beaverton School District for their help in curating fentanyl awareness information. Additional information for school-aged students and families can be found as part of the Oregon Department of Education's Toolkit for Schools.
What is WLWV Doing?
West Linn-Wilsonville students receive yearly lessons as part of their health curriculum. Additionally, all middle and high schools are stocked with Naloxone, a medication that can potentially reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Select staff members in each school are trained on the use of Naloxone, also known as Narcan.
The school district will embark on a fentanyl awareness campaign during the 2023-24 school year, including regular information in school and district newsletters and social media accounts. The goal of this campaign will be to raise awareness and educate both our students and parents about the dangers of fentanyl.
The school district will host an educational community session in January that all families and community members are invited to. This information session will leverage local experts to provide information about fentanyl as well as resources.