College sophomore Elias Myers thinks his friends are lucky to be alive.
The 19-year-old recounts a recent incident in which his friends got ahold of a drug that test strips showed was laced with fentanyl, a potent, often deadly, synthetic opioid.
“That’s kind of when I decided that caution is not, like, a best practice, but a survival technique,” says the University of California, Berkeley, student.
And yet those survival techniques were never talked about in Myers’ middle and high school drug education classes. In fact Myers says they didn’t mention fentanyl at all. He says those classes failed to prepare him and his peers for an increasingly dangerous drug landscape in which a single high can have deadly consequences.
Myers says everything he learned about fentanyl has been from friends and older siblings.
“But it didn’t have to be that way. We could have learned safety way ahead of time,” he says.
For decades, students like Myers have been told to just say no to drugs. The message was repeated in public service announcements and in classroom presentations. But research shows this approach alone doesn’t work. And now, overdose deaths among teenagers have skyrocketed — largely due to fentanyl. The synthetic opioid…