Fentanyl: Scary Upsurge

Jacob Zamora, Features Editor

On October 7, 2022, a 17-year-old student at El Camino Real Charter High School passed away due to a fentanyl overdose. Cade Kitchen was another victim of this dangerous drug. According to “CBS News” fentanyl has been traced in 77% of teenage overdose deaths. “It’s heartbreaking because it hits home to me,” Kate Vinas, a parent, said. Many parents want to educate their children about this crisis that has claimed many young lives.

Fentanyl has affected many young students and adults in California, and according to “The California Department of Education” California suffered 82 tragic deaths attributed to fentanyl and up to 80% of drug-related deaths amongst young people were from fentanyl. Many students in California have been overdosing, and although it has already been here, it’s starting to get more recognition due to how young these students are.  However, there are two types of fentanyl which include pharmaceutical fentanyl, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

Pharmaceutical Fentanyl is prescribed by the doctor to treat severe pain. According to, “The California Department of Public Health” pharmaceutical fentanyl is used for and after surgery or for advanced-stage cancer. A teacher who had similar views was Mr. Torres. “It’s not a problem if it’s considered in a clinical environment, and if it’s not being abused,” Torres said. Like many other drugs that are clinically helpful, there are different types that can kill or change a person’s life.

Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl is the total opposite of a pharmaceutical type. Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl is distributed through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. According to, “The Center for Disease Control and Prevention” fentanyl is up 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It can take different forms including liquid, and powder.

Knowing the dangers of this powerful drug can show how vulnerable anyone can be. The question is why are students becoming the new target and how can we spread awareness to put a stop to this crisis? 

Many students are starting to become the new target in the fentanyl crisis due to how easily many drugs and candy can be laced with this drug. According to, “Drug Enforcement Administration” fentanyl pills and powder come in varieties of bright colors, shapes, and sizes. Drug traffickers are making an effort to drive addiction among kids and young adults. It is also very dangerous because only two milligrams which is equal to ten to fifteen grains of table salt is enough to be considered a lethal dose. 

Many families are frightened and afraid of this crisis. Some families are seeking to spread awareness through campaigns or educational programs. A program that was pointed out by Ms. Mendoza, the Spanish teacher, was the “DARE” program.

The “DARE” program is an educational program that is meant to educate K-12 students about good decision-making skills that can help lead students to a strong and healthy life away from drugs. Mendoza believes that there should be more programs like “DARE” that can come and help educate students on the heavy risk that drugs can bring and how they can lead away from that to live a healthy life. “This program can open up the eyes of many students and it can help them think of why to say no to drugs,” Mendoza said.

Fentanyl is not going to just disappear, it’s going to be here for a while. Everyone young and old must be cautious and more aware to avoid getting caught up with a dangerous drug like this.