OCDE partners with OC Health Care Agency to host fentanyl awareness forums on May 9

In recognition of National Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 9, OCDE is teaming up with the Orange County Health Care Agency to host a pair of no-cost workshops that will cover the dangers of fentanyl and counterfeit pills and share prevention resources. 

The sessions — one will be held at 4 p.m., followed by another at 6 p.m. — will be held in partnership with the HCA’s Mental Health and Recovery Services at OCDE’s Conference Center, located in Building D at 200 Kalmus Drive in Costa Mesa. The HCA plans to distribute kits containing Narcan, an emergency life-saving medication that can rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid poisoning, to trained participants.

Fentanyl Awareness Day forum flier

To register for either session on May 9, visit https://ocde.k12oms.org/1260-233279.

“The impact of fentanyl on our school communities is unprecedented, and the most important step we can take is to become more aware of this deadly drug and how it’s getting into the hands of young people,” said Stephan Lambert, coordinator of prevention education in OCDE’s Student Achievement and Wellness Unit. “It’s also critical that we spread the word on preventative measures and steps that we know can save lives. I hope the community will come out in force and help our young people find the support and resources they need.”

Fentanyl forum flier in Spanish

At roughly 50 times stronger than heroin and about 100 times more powerful than morphine, fentanyl has become a leading cause of death among children and young people. Because the synthetic opioid is often pressed into counterfeit pills made to look like prescription medications such as oxycodone or even Xanax, many of its victims aren’t aware they’re taking the drug. Moreover, it’s being mixed into other street drugs like cocaine, heroin and MDMA because it’s cheaper to produce.

To date, Lambert and his team at OCDE have led more than 150 fentanyl prevention workshops for families and school staff across the county, but this is the first time naloxone — it’s also known under the brand name Narcan — will be provided.

“I felt it was time to bring the messages and resources that we have compiled and share them with the education community at large,” he said. 

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