DEA warns parents of drug use ahead of new school year: “One pill can be the difference between life and death”

According to the DEA, just two milligrams of fentanyl, small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil, is enough to kill someone.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 8:42 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Kids in the Capital City are gearing up for a return to the classroom and as they do, the DEA is warning parents of the dangers of drugs, especially counterfeit pills.

According to the CDC, nearly 75 percent of all overdose deaths in 2020 were from opioids. Nebraska DEA agents said drugs are evolving and what might look like a harmless pill can actually have serious consequences.

“Children are continuing to be targeted by drug trafficking organizations and we really want to be able to educate parents, teachers and help them as kids go back to school to understand the threats they’re facing,” said Special Agent of the DEA Omaha Division Justin King.

As opioids and pills become more mainstream the DEA is once again emphasizing that one pill can kill.

“We want to raise awareness that even taking one pill can be the difference between life and death that one pill could kill an individual,” King said.

Between February of 2021 to February of 2022, the CDC reported more than 108,000 overdose deaths. King explained that drugs are evolving, with fentanyl and synthetic opioids being the main driver.

“We’ve always had overdoses from other drugs, but the fentanyl has really changed the game,” King said, “We’re seeing four out of every 10 DEA seized pills containing a lethal dose of fentanyl.”

It doesn’t take much to be considered a lethal dose. According to the DEA, just two milligrams of fentanyl, small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil, is enough to kill someone. King said the most vulnerable age groups are becoming victims.

“The drug trafficking organization wants that pill to look like it came from a pharmacy,” King said, “We’re constantly wanting people to understand that one pill regardless of what it is you have to assume that has that lethal dose of fentanyl.”

That’s why a conversation can often times be the best way to protect your child. If you need assistance, the DEA’s website has resources on overdoses and ways to approach kids on drug use.

“It really is that reoccurring message that you need to understand drugs aren’t just bad, but there’s going to be a chance encounter that you’re going to have where somebody is going to try and get you to do that and you have the freedom to say no,” King said, “We want them to be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation and know parents and family has their back.”

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