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Opioid Epidemic Awareness

October 25, 2023

By Erendira Zazueta, Coalition Coordinator


The current opioid epidemic has taken many lives but we can help reduce the amount of lives taken. Fentanyl overdoses are at an all time high and while many people ask themselves "Why would someone take Fentanyl if they know it can kill them?," the people who die from overdoses don't always know they're taking fentanyl. Multiple people who had an opioid overdose thought they were taking either Oxycodone, Percocet, Xanax, Cocaine, or other drugs they bought from someone but they then overdosed and it was later revealed that there had been fentanyl in the pill. One thing any person can do to help decrease the number of opioid overdoses is promote awareness. There are many ways this can be done and one of them is participating in Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week takes place every year from October 23rd through the 31st. The Red Ribbon campaign has been around since 1985 and was created after the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena. After that incident, angered parents and youth in the communities across the country began to wear Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction caused by drugs in America.


It is important to raise awareness about drugs and pledge to be drug-free because we are in an opioid overdose epidemic right now. The drug that is causing the most overdoses in America is fentanyl. Awareness is crucial because while many people are aware of the opioid epidemic, there are still many people who don’t know how deadly fentanyl is. By participating in red ribbon week and showing support, you are helping out by raising awareness so that even if people don’t know about opioid overdoses, the awareness can prompt them to do some research in what is going on and what they can do to help with the problem.

According to the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), drug overdose deaths began to rise at an alarming rate during the first year of the COVID-19 Pandemic, increasing by 30.6% in just 12 months. Drug overdoses have been on a rise since 2020 and they are still a problem now.


There are many stories about pre-teens and teens overdosing because they bought another opioid like oxycodone thinking it was real when it was actually laced with fentanyl. In Dominic Tierno's Youtube documentary "Dead On Arrival", they talk about how one of the youngest to overdose was a 14 year old teen by the name of Alexander Neville. He had bought an oxycodone pill online and overdosed because it was laced with Fentanyl. Pre-teens and teens don't have the best decision-skills just yet which is why it is important to talk to them about the dangers of drugs and how one simple decision can possibly end their life.

The reality is that we need to raise more awareness and Red Ribbon Week is a good way to raise awareness. Wear red ribbons, post the free flyers that are provided on the Red Ribbon Week Campaign website, share their posts on your social media, and pledge to be drug-free.

It may seem like we can't do much to stop the overdose deaths because it is difficult to stop the selling of drugs but anybody can raise awareness and that is a helpful tool to decrease the overdose deaths. It is important to mention to people that a lot of the overdose deaths isn't people who are just taking fentanyl by itself, but by people taking other synthetic drugs that end up being laced with fentanyl.


Please continue to follow our blog as we will be providing more information about opioids, drug recoveries, and how to dispose of medications properly!




Sources

  1. Red Ribbon Campaign (2023). About Us Section. Accessed on October 23, 2023. https://www.redribbon.org/about

  2. State Health Access Data Assistance Center (2023). The Opioid Epidemic in the United States. Accessed on October 23, 2023. https://www.shadac.org/opioid-epidemic-united-states

  3. Dominic Tierno. (September 27, 2021). dead on arrival (fentanyl documentary) [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJgPmrLjkuo

Image Sources

  1. Red Ribbon Campaign (2023). About Us Section. Accessed on October 23, 2023. https://www.redribbon.org/about

  2. State Health Access Data Assistance Center (2023). The Opioid Epidemic in the United States. Accessed on October 23, 2023. https://www.shadac.org/opioid-epidemic-united-states



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