With schools returning to full in-person classes, representatives of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration New Jersey Division are asking parents to speak to their children about the dangers of drug use.
“This is a great time for parents to sit down with their children to speak to them about the dangers of drug use,” DEA New Jersey Division Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson was quoted as saying in a Sept. 1 press release.
“Students are returning to a normal class schedule and to their social circles. They could now face new challenges related to peer pressure to experiment with substances,” Gibson said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 92,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2020. That is the largest number of overdose deaths ever in a 12-month period.
Opioids accounted for more than 68,000 of those deaths. Synthetic opioids, such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl, remain the primary driver for the increases in drug overdose deaths, according to the DEA press release.
Another significant concern is the increase in counterfeit pills flooding the illegal drug market.
Drug cartels are capitalizing on the opioid epidemic and manufacturing mass quantities of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl and sending them to the United States for distribution, according to the press release.
Counterfeit pills are extremely dangerous and often have the same markings of legitimate prescription medications such as Oxycodone, Xanax and Adderall. The user is most likely unaware the pills are counterfeit and of how lethal they are, according to the press release.
“It is very important to talk to your family members periodically about these dangers. Kids need to know that taking one counterfeit pill could be enough to cause a fatal overdose.
“The earlier we can get this information to kids, the more impactful it can be that they will make better and possibly life-saving choices in the future.
“Those who are selling these drugs do not care about the health and well-being of your child. These conversations can be enough to save a life,” Gibson said.
For DEA resources for parents and students, visit www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.gov or