It used to only be mangled cars and high school student-actors dramatizing the could-be, alcohol-induced, deadly collision to stress the importance of not drinking and driving.

Now it’s also staged teen bedrooms of innocuous items harboring deadly substances to educate parents on adolescent opioid misuse. 

Forbes recently published an article that cited, “nearly 9,000 teens and children died from opioid overdoses in the past two decades… [producing] an increased mortality rate of 2,925 percent in this age group.”

Wow, that’s a tough pill to swallow. Pun intended.

You may be wondering why a teen’s bedroom is setting the stage for opioid misuse education. Well, according to a JAMA study, 38% of opioid-related deaths in teens occurred at home, with only 10.4% in a hospital or other inpatient settings, and 24% in emergency departments. 

The Forbes article concludes, “the implication is that deaths occurred rapidly and often suddenly, before paramedics could attempt to resuscitate children who used opioids.”

Completely devastating. Devastating for the children who left a life unfinished and a family grieving. Devastating for this world who will never know the gift of their life well lived.

The derivative of the cause is in many cases stemming from adults who store or use opioids in the home. “It has a ripple effect on everyone, including teens and children who can misuse or divert the drugs to other persons,” the author of the article wrote.

Another factor contributing to the gravity of the situation is the illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which contributed to almost one-third of teen deaths due to synthetic opioids in the JAMA study. Fentanyl is roughly 100 times more potent than morphine. Even more alarming, in many cases, heroin is being laced with fentanyl so the user is unknowingly exposed to a deadly concoction thus significantly increasing the likelihood of overdose.  

There’s hope. The Safety First curriculum from the Drug Policy Alliance provides opioid education for young people and their families. While we at New Season do not treat the pediatric population, we strive to be a source of patient education and recovery solutions for opioid misuse disorder.