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Talking to Teens about Fentanyl

Laced and Lethal includes downloadable resources for teens and a discussion guide for adults on how to talk with young people about the risks.


MAKE IT A CONVERSATION Telling teens not to do drugs is NOT the way to go here. The teens that are the most at risk may just tune this warning out if they feel like they’re being judged for their drug use. Focus the conversation on scientific facts and life-saving tips. Listen instead of sharing your own opinion.

EXPLAIN THE REALITY In just two years (2018-2020), King County saw a 164% increase in the number of fentanyl overdose deaths. Impress upon teens that fentanyl isn’t a distant danger—it’s hurting our community and they are very much at risk. The idea that “only people who get drugs from random people overdose” is completely false.

BE CLEAR ABOUT THE RISK Fentanyl is tasteless, odorless, and too small to see. In fact, an amount about the size of two grains of salt can cause an overdose. Dispel the myth of a “safe” source: Substances are laced with fentanyl long before they reach the friends, dealers, and friends-of-friends teens trust to supply them. Fentanyl can be anywhere, as distribution in pills and powders is totally random. While one pill might not be deadly, another one could be.

HELP THEM FIND NALOXONE Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose. The teens around you may already know what naloxone is, but they may not carry it yet. Let teens know that naloxone is legal for ALL ages without a ID. They can get free naloxone, privately, with either of these methods:

  • OPTION ONE: Confidentially ordering online to have naloxone mailed to any address. Naloxone will come in plain packaging for privacy.

  • OPTION TWO: Picking up naloxone from a local provider. For a list of locations that provide free naloxone, visit Providers may ask general questions about age and gender, but the identity of anyone asking for naloxone will be completely confidential. When picking up naloxone, teens are welcome to ask any questions they may have and receive naloxone training, if they’d like it. While it’s not made specifically for teens, is another great resource for overdose prevention information. TALKING TO TEENS ABOUT

FENTANYL King County is facing an unprecedented rise in overdoses caused by fentanyl, an extremely deadly opioid that is often laced into pills and powders. This discussion guide is designed to help you talk with the teens around you about fentanyl in a way that empowers them to make safer choices.

STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF LOOKING OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER When someone’s overdosing, they can’t give themselves naloxone. By carrying naloxone at all times, letting others know they have it, and accompanying friends as they use, teens can decrease the chances of a friend suffering a fatal overdose.

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