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Fentanyl Poses An Increasing Threat For Teenagers

Fentanyl has become a growing threat toward teens as the risk of overdoses is increasing. As teens return to school, the drug may present itself more frequently in unexpected forms. One of these forms, for which the Drug Enforcement Administration issued an advisory, is bright in color to target young people, according to Axios. The rainbow colored pills have already been seized in at least 18 states. Teenagers "really don't know the risk of the substances they're using," says O. Trent Hall, who specializes in addiction psychiatry at Ohio State University. Hall says fentanyl is often disguised as common medications, and can look similar in appearance. The percentage of seizures in pill form increased from 13.8 percent in 2018 to 29.2 percent in 2021, found a study published in May in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found.

The increase in fake tablets or "dupes" is blamed on drugs pouring over the southern border from Mexican drug cartels. With oversupply of the drugs causing the price to fall, a new version has been developed that is meant to be 30 percent more potent than the typical fake oxycodone tablets, known as M30s. Nationwide, there have been reports of increased overdose deaths among kids in Alabama, California, Maine, Michigan, and Texas. Increasingly dangerous drugs pose a problem because of a sharp uptick in teen overdoses between 2019 and 2020, despite stable drug use rates among young people. "We're watching a tragedy unfold and it's time we stop watching it and start trying to stop it," Hall says.


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