One Pill Can Kill: Addiction, Loss and Fentanyl

The Fentanyl Crisis in Marin County: A Student Call to Action / Template Letter to Parents

A group of Marin County High School student journalists gave a compelling presentation and an urgent call to action at our January School Law Enforcement Partnership (SLEP) about the Fentanyl crisis in Marin County. We are losing young people to tragic overdoses, and hosted a Community Meeting on Tuesday, March 29 to hear from directly from our students about specific actions they are urging we take as a community to prevent future tragedies.

In addition, under the leadership of Marin County HHS, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services staff from Rx Safe Marin, the Spahr Center, the Marin Prevention Network, and Let’s Talk has developed a template letter (below) that districts and schools can put on your letterhead to share with your respective communities with additional information, resources and links to the articles written by the students who presented at the SLEP meeting and the panel.

Fentanyl Template Letter / Information + Resources

We want to alert our parent community of a dangerous drug that is a growing risk to Marin students: the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Last December, the Redwood Bark student paper published an article, One pill can kill: Addiction, loss and fentanyl; The epidemic unknowingly threatening Marin’s most vulnerable teens. This came one month after the award-winning piece, Every parent’s worst nightmare: Fentanyl epidemic overtakes teens, featured in Archie William’s Pitch.

These articles, widely read and distributed, call attention to an urgent topic we all need to address: the presence of fentanyl and even more powerful synthetic opioids in pills and powders within Marin County. State sources reveal that 72% of the 5,000 opioid drug overdoses in California in 2020 involved fentanyl.

Teens often gain access to pills that they believe are Xanax, Adderall, or Oxycodone via social media apps like Snapchat. Often, these are counterfeit pills. The DEA has reported that for every 10 illicit pills they test, four contain potentially lethal amounts of fentanyl. The combination of easy accessibility and fentanyl in the drug supply have exponentially increased the risks of youth drug experimentation.

What can we do about the rising threat of fentanyl and even more deadly synthetic opioids?

1) Discuss the dangers of synthetic opioids like fentanyl with the young people in our lives. This 60 second PSA by the CDC is a great conversation starter, and the locally-produced “Let’s Talk Marin” booklets/webinars can spark more discussions.

2) Carry naloxone. Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is an easy-to-use nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses. Please check with your pharmacy, and/or contact, to obtain Narcan.

We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students across Marin, with our first shipment of Narcan (5-10 kits per school) being distributed soon to public high school and middle schools in Marin. We thank our youth leaders and partners below for supporting our efforts to address this urgent issue.

Marin Healthy Youth Partnerships and RXSafe Marin

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