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Letter to the Editor: More to the fentanyl story

I wanted to respond to the Fentanyl article published in the Dec. 15 [edition of Our Town]. As a concerned citizen, mother, and public health advocate, I was happy to see some light being shed on this topic in our community. It highlighted how grim the current opioid crisis is; however, I feel like it overall downplayed the risk our local youth face. 

Drug use is not necessarily more common than before, it’s that it’s exceptionally more dangerous now with the circulation of fentanyl-laced pills. The victims of these fatal, accidental overdoses are opioid naïve youth – youth that don’t know these pills may be laced and that one pill can kill; youth that don’t have the tolerance built up for opioids; youth that aren’t engaged in existing services for people who use drugs and don’t know about Narcan or Oregon’s Good Samaritan Law; youth that are engaged and targeted on social media. Teenagers experiment – it is a time in their lives where they explore, experiment, and make decisions to develop independence and their sense of identity. Some teenagers do this with drugs (yes, in Silverton) and now there is something circulating that can kill them with one bad choice.

So I encourage us all to be concerned for our youth in our community and to educate ourselves and our children on the risks involved and how to get help if needed. While our local police are seeing this as a “very small problem” for our community, it is a very large issue for our youth/families dealing with just being/having a teenager in today’s world.

Our neighboring communities have their agencies participate in the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), and Silverton is not currently. ODMAP links first responders and relevant record management systems to a mapping tool to track overdoses to stimulate real-time response and strategic analysis across jurisdictions. I have encouraged our department to participate, and invite you to do the same.

[Resources]: songforcharlie.org; realdealonfentanyl.com; friendsfightfentanyl.com;  neverusealone.com/ hotline 877-696-1996; Youth Line (free teen-to-teen crisis support and help line): TEXT Teen2teen to 839863, CHAT.

Leslie Kuhn

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