Dreams killed with one pill

Fentanyl has an incredibly important role in the medical world as a powerful pain reliever and anesthetic with its potency being 50 times more than heroine and 100 percent stronger than morphine. However, this synthetic opioid has taken a deadly grasp on Tempe and Arizona residents.

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Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is distributed through the drug trade for its heroine-like effect and a lethal dose could fit on the tip of a pencil. Since 2017, over 1,100 18-to 24-year old’s have died of an opioid overdose, according to Substance Abuse Coalition Leaders of Arizona. That’s why Tempe Coalition has taken the initiative to educate the community and fight back, partnering with the Tempe Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency for National Drug Take back day. On Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., those with unused or expired medications can drop them off at the Hardy police substation for proper disposal. The goal is to help bring attention to the eminent drug problem within the community while providing responsible disposal so they do not fall into the wrong hands.

“We have local youth as young as 14 who have lost their lives from taking a counterfeit pill they got at a party,” Bernadette Coggins, the program director for Tempe Coalition, said. “As many students are headed off to college, they need to be aware that any pill not prescribed to them by a medical doctor could be counterfeit (Adderall, Percocet) and it was laced with fentanyl. “Even more frightening, is these deadly drugs can be in vapes, powders, and any drug off the street.” Access to drugs and alcohol has never been easier with amount of youth with cell phones on social media. This further emphasizes the need for educating and preventing.

“The Tempe Coalition is providing education and resources to our three local school districts and have recently completed narcan training for over 450 educators and every Kyrene and Tempe Union campus has trained staff,” said Coggins, adding that Naloxone is available if ever needed to save a life. Coalition members represent a wide range of community sectors including; business, media, law enforcement, schools, substance abuse providers, youth, parents, youth-serving organizations, civic groups, healthcare professionals, governmental agencies, and faith-based organizations, said Coggins. “As a parent, I have seen many families suffer from the results of drug abuse and the devastation it leaves when a family loses their child to a deadly fentanyl poisoning,” she said. “We are living in different times and everyone needs to be on high alert. Parents must be informed and talk to their children. “It can be a difference between life and death.” For more information about Drug Take back or Tempe Coalition email bernadette_coggins@tempe.gov or pay an online visit to TempeCoalition.org.



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