The ongoing fight against fentanyl
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Fentanyl is newest drug epidemic and local and federal leaders are scrambling to get control of it. Overall overdose deaths topped 100,000 in the US for the first time last year.
The synthetic opioid is approved for treating severe pain, like advanced cancer pain. It’s being sold on the streets, online, and in schools. Fentanyl can be made in multiple colors, giving the appearance of candy. “The problem is our youth today, they’re taking one pill, they’re being poisoned. It’s not an overdose. That’s where were getting a lot of this stuff wrong,” said Brock Bevell, of Victory Recovery in Mesa. “Fentanyl is a one time use, one pill will kill you.”
Bevell has a special perspective because he was not only a police officer, but he is a recovering opioid addict - and now runs a counseling center. “The people that are selling these drugs are super smart. They are going to mask it in any way possible. One thing we have to understand is the more drugs consumed in the US, the more addiction sky rockets, the more money they make. That’s the motivation,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office held an event at Independence High School, inviting the community to take part. “Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Two out of five counterfeit pills that come across our border are laced with lethal doses of fentanyl. These drugs are being marketed to our youth in the most proliferous ways and as parents and teens, they must be aware of just how dangerous fentanyl can be,” said County Attorney Rachel Mitchell.
According to the federal government, Fentanyl is often sourced from China and packaged in Mexico before flowing into the US. “You have to be awake to this and say ok, this fentanyl epidemic is not slowing down so we need to make some changes. Whether that’s closing the border, just to give us a reprieve to breathe to get more officers or better tools, let’s get them some sleep whatever it is, they’re inundated,” Bevell said.
Bevell has made it his mission to bring awareness to this growing problem. He said parents need to talk about it with their kids. He said there is one thing that everyone and all schools should have to help in this epidemic, and that is Narcan, a medicine that reverses an overdose. It’s available for free at many pharmacies.
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