The Fentanyl Crisis and QHHS

The opioid epidemic began in 1991, 31 years ago. Within that time, coverage concerning opioid overdose has increased. Affected individuals are buying off the street and are usually unaware that it is laced with fentanyl. More recently, concerns are rising due to Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl (IMF).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 150 lives are taken per day by IMF overdoses. The opioid is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. The smallest amount (comparable to a grain of salt) can cause an overdose. Even particles inhaled by individuals can cause an overdose. 

  In Washington DC, families rallied to the White House against the crisis. Parents raised fifty banners showing 3,500 of the dead taken by overdose (any of which were adolescents and just began in life). All the protesters demanded that fentanyl be classified as a deadly weapon. 

As a school, we must be aware of the crisis we face. 

“We don’t want to be too intrusive on students,” said Vice Principal Aaron Foley, “We want to keep this a warm, welcome, happy place… It’s more of an awareness piece to make everyone understand what’s going on, and I think we could do a better job with that.”

To add to the topic, resource teacher Willie F. Holmes said, “Fentanyl isn’t really the big issue here… the majority of our students aren’t dipping and dabbing in fentanyl; they’re dipping and dabbing in other areas.”

I, for one, believe that this statement is essential because it is not only fentanyl that we face but many other addictive substances. All of these must be considered equally, making awareness key to solving the issue. 

Freshman Valerie Clendennen says, “Instead of being all mad at the person with the drugs, we should be helping [them…] get the help they need. Get them into rehab and just be nice about it.”

“People who are dealing with their problems think that using drugs will solve their problems or it would make it better. But in reality, it would get them addicted, worsen their health, or even die,” fellow freshman Stacy Guevara added.

For example, take Aaron Carter, a former child star who was believed to be killed by overdose. Carter had once opened up about mental struggles in 2019. After the death of Nick Carter (brother), he stated, “addiction and mental illness is the real villain here.” Even if the death was not caused by drugs or alcohol, for the time being, it shows just what Guevara is portraying.

“We should have better mental health options and better ways to deal with drugs…” Clendennen later said, agreeing. 

Mental health is a significant factor in drugs because those who do not receive the proper treatment think drugs will help them. But as Guevara stated, it will only worsen things, leading to more substance abuse. 

We are facing a growing crisis, which will continue to grow unless we take action. From cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and prescription drugs all the way to fentanyl, we must raise awareness of the epidemic and how to stay safe. Or else the light at the end of the tunnel will never be seen.