The misuse of opioids is a life-threatening health issue.
Opioids include prescription pain relievers such as hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin), and morphine, all of which are legal when prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider. Heroin is a common opioid substance that is not legal but used by addicts. Opioid misuse occurs when a person uses heroin or abuses certain prescription pain relievers to get high.
In 2013, the opioid drug fentanyl, which had been used in the medical field for years, began to appear on the street market. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times as strong as morphine and one of the most dangerous and deadly drugs abused in the United States and throughout the world. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that more than 47,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2017 in the United States and alleges it is largely the result of the increased abuse of fentanyl. After the COVID-19 pandemic, this number only increased.
Fentanyl, when prescribed, comes in the form of patches, lozenges, or pills. But illegal fentanyl is often sold illegally as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers or nasal sprays, and made into pills that look like other prescription opioids.
Some drug dealers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine,methamphetamine, and MDMA. Recently, fentanyl has been mixed with an even stronger animal tranquilizer called xylazine. These mixtures have increased the risk of death from the use of fentanyl. This is especially risky when people taking drugs don’t realize they might contain fentanyl or xylazine.
What can you do to help your friends and help yourself?
Look around you. Can you identify someone who uses drugs or is engaged in another high-risk behavior? If you ask them if they would like to mess up their life up by getting involved with risky behaviors, most will tell you no. So, what are some things you can do to avoid getting involved with these drugs?
One thing you can do is to stay busy. Get involved in school, church, or community activities, Most will welcome you!
Talk to your friends who avoid drugs and other risky activities. Listen to their opinions on how to avoid these risky behaviors.
Look into your Bible and see what it says about harmful behaviors that can bring risk and negative consequences for your life, like addictions, premarital sex. One example can be found in 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. These lines urge us to take care of our body. Do not harm that which was created by God in His image. Substance abuse and addictions of any kind certainly harm the body and the mind. It can also lead to self-harming behaviors and even death. That is not God’s plan. You were created to live abundantly. In John 10:10, Jesus said his enemy came to destroy us, but He came to give us an abundant life. Most of all, ask God to help you resist the harmful urges for unhealthful behaviors and to give you wisdom and the will to make healthier choices. Sign the Youth Alive Pledge.
 MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), also called Molly or Ecstasy, is a potent empathogen–entactogen with stimulant properties primarily used for recreational purposes. The desired effects include altered sensations, increased energy, empathy, and pleasure. For more information, search for MDMA and select https://nida.nih.gov or https://www.dea.gov for accurate information.