ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) — “It’s a crucial thing to have in a first aid kit today,” said Peter Piraino, CEO of Renewal Lodge, a substance use disorder recovery center in Elgin. He’s referring to Narcan, a tool used to reverse an opioid overdose.
“Even if your kids are not seeking fentanyl, there’s a really good chance that cocaine has fentanyl in it. We see that all the time — different pills that are pressed with fentanyl like Xanax and Adderall. There’s been several occasions where marijuana has had fentanyl in it,” said Piraino.
This week, state agencies including the Texas Education Agency explained how it is responding to the fentanyl crisis.
The TEA was one of several state departments to meet with the Texas Opioid Abatement Fund Council to discuss how it can use money from opioid settlements to provide effective, evidence-based programs to combat fentanyl.
Agency officials said it is working on developing communication materials for school systems and providing materials to parents and caregivers with important information.
Piraino said parents should not waste any time talking to their kids about the deadly consequences of fentanyl and ways to prevent or reverse it.
“The discussion needs to be with their kids when they go out is, ‘do you have Narcan?’ When they go to a house party or they go to a Halloween party, even if they’re not using it and one of their friends is using some type of drugs, there’s good chance there is fentanyl there, and they need to be prepared to reverse an overdose so that people can live.”
According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, more than 2,700 Texans were killed by drug overdoses in 2019.
“I think people need to understand fentanyl is the No. 1 killer of folks 18 to 45 in the United States,” said Piraino. “Last year, we had over 70,000 deaths from fentanyl overdoses. That equals out to about 200 people a day dying.”