SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The fentanyl crisis that has exploded across the country in recent years has affected people of all ages including teenagers.

According to the California Department of Public Health, there were 224 fentanyl-related overdose deaths among teens aged 15-19 years old in the Golden State in 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that many people who die from fentanyl overdose aren’t even aware they are taking the drug, as it is often laced into other illicit substances like cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

For someone who doesn’t have a tolerance for opioids, just two milligrams of fentanyl can be considered a lethal dose, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In an effort to help preventing fentanyl from falling into the hands of young people, California State Senator Nancy Skinner of Oakland plans to introduce a bill this month to the state legislature that aims to prevent social media platforms from directing kids to sites that sell drugs laced with fentanyl.

So how can parents start a conversation with their teenager about the dangers of fentanyl? The CDPH lists the following tips:

  • Pick a neutral time with no distractions 
  • Be open and calm
  • Be prepared and focus on the conversation
  • Give teens the scientific facts and explain the reality and risks of using drugs 
  • Educate teens on naloxone, including how to use it and where to get it   
  • Express your love and care  

Naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, has been saving lives across the county. However, in order for this treatment to be effective it needs to be widely available and people need to know how to use it. A guide below describes the step-by-step process.

(Photo courtesy of King County)

Another key thing to remind teenagers of is the Good Samaritan Law, otherwise known as A.B. 472. This law states that anyone who seeks or provides medical help to a person suffering from a drug overdose will not be charged with a crime for participating in the matter. Even if teens are found to be in possession of illegal drugs or paraphernalia, the Good Samaritan Law provides them some protection.