All throughout the news in Ottawa, parents are made aware of the rising presence and danger of Fentanyl in the illicit drugs regularly taken by teens and youth. Continually reminded of the problem our city is facing and the consequent threat to their children’s safety, parents seek to understand the issue and the actions they can take to protect their kids. Consider the following advice and resources from Ottawa Youth Counselling:
Protecting Your Kids Starts With Educating Yourself
Parents are understandably afraid. An apparently invisible threat endangers the safety of their children, and they have little apparent recourse to defend against it. Desperate for a solution to the problem, too often parents take extreme and ultimately counter-productive measures to protect their kids out of fear of a threat they do not fully understand.
The first step to providing your children the best possible protection starts with developing this understanding. Consider the following questions, and informed answers, frequently asked by concerned parents concerning Ottawa’s Fentanyl and opiate problem:
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is part of a ‘family’ drugs known as Opiates. Similar to illicit drugs like Heroin, and prescription drugs like Oxycodone and Percocet; these drugs create an extremely powerful, extremely cheap high.
Fentanyl is among the cheapest and most powerful opiates available to drug producers. Requiring a mere fraction of the quantity to produce a similar high to Heroin, drug manufacturers use Fentanyl in all manner of illicit drugs due to it’s ability to make any drug feel extremely powerful. A matter of cost-management for criminal drug producers, the true price of Fentanyl is paid by youth who are not aware of what is in the drugs they are buying and using. Without the quality-control mechanisms required of legitimate drug manufacturers, illicit producers neither know nor care how much Fentanyl makes it into each pill to the point where one half of a pill can give you a pleasant high, while the other can easily kill you.
How Do I Protect My Kids?
Most parents were born and raised in the ‘just say no’ era. A philosophy to drug education that has been repeatedly demonstrated to be not just ineffective, but counter-productive, many parents are inclined to pass this mentality onto their kids without understanding it’s pitfalls.
It is generally accepted within the mental health profession that the among the best courses of action to protect youth from harmful drugs and irresponsible drug use is through developing ‘drug literacy’. Most parents of today’s children have been raised in a culture that taught them to avoid exposing themselves to even learning about drugs, and thus have not developed the competencies in themselves that they ought to be passing onto their children.
If you have experience with drugs and drug use limited to what you learned in school growing up, educating your child about the reality of drugs, requires you to educate yourself. and challenge the long-held assumptions you may hold concerning the nature and morality of drugs and drug use. This kind of education is far beyond the ability of a single article to provide, but consider the following informational resources to get started
- Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
- RCMP Drugs and Alcohol Resources
- Johann Hari: Everything You Think Your Know About Addiction Is Wrong (embedded below)
Tools To Protect Against Fentanyl
If you’ve heard about Ottawa’s Fentanyl and Opiate problem, chances are you’ve heard of Naloxone.
Naloxone is a chemical that temporarily prevents Fentanyl and other Opiates from binding to brain receptors. Application during or before overdose will lead to a massive reduction in the symptoms and effects within 1 to 5 minutes, providing approximately 60-90 minutes to call 911 and get to a hospital.
Available for free from most Ottawa pharmacies, it is imperative that those who seek out Naloxone do so with a comprehensive understanding of it’s nature and proper use. A powerful medication, misuse can be extremely dangerous, which is why the Ontario Pharmacists Association has assembled a wealth of educational resources to ensure parents and youth know how to use it properly.
Providing teens access to Naloxone and the requisite education on it’s proper use can be a lifesaver not only for your child, but also those of the greater community. With the tools and knowledge to prevent Fentanyl overdose at social gatherings and parties, your child may find themselves in the position to save a life!
Urine Test Kits:
In the interests of protecting their children, many Ottawa parents have turned to urine test kits as a way of determining if their children have consumed Fentanyl, knowingly or unknowingly.
While providing Ottawa youth access to Fentanyl urine test kits can be a great way to protect your kids from dangerous drugs when used with full understanding, they are often used without understanding, and thus their use often results in more negative consequences than positive ones.
Parents often invest too much certainty into the results of such tests. Positive results from one of these tests can only indicate that a person has likely consumed Fentanyl in the past 36 hours, but are by no means an absolute indication that they have. Moreover, negative results do not necessarily indicate that they haven’t. Only through rigorous testing with advanced scientific equipment can you or your child be certain that any drug has contained Fentanyl.
Presuming that a positive urine sample indicates the presence of Fentanyl can, and has, proved extremely dangerous. Understandably distraught by the threat to their children, parents are liable to make emotional decisions based off incomplete evidence. Shaming their children for using drugs, or accusing or threatening a drug provider will not only do very little to protect your child, but can increasing their exposure to danger. Shaming techniques have long been known to drive drug users to further drug use, and negative reinforcement often only teach youth to hide their use from their parents.
Fentanyl urine tests are available from online retailers for home use, but it is always recommended that they instead be administered by professionals. Available for free in Ottawa, Fentanyl testing performed by health professionals is the best course of action available to youth and parents concerned about responsible drug use and Fentanyl. Health professionals cannot only provide a more comprehensive understanding of test results, but also point you and your child in the direction of public resources that can help both of you prevent the likelihood of future harm!
Comprehensive Help With Ottawa Youth Counselling
Fully understanding the psychological and social motivators that influence today’s youth towards drug use, as well as the actions that you can take to protect your self or someone you love, takes significant time and energy.
One way to accelerate your education is with the help of those who have dedicated their lives and professional careers to doing so.
If you have concerns about Ottawa’s Fentanyl/Opiate crisis as it relates to a youth in your life, Ottawa Youth Counselling is fully prepared to help. Whether you, your child, or someone you know; we are prepared to answer any question, big or small as it relates to helping curb irresponsible youth drug use in Ottawa.
You can get in touch with us by email, phone, or simple question form from this page. Keep in mind that all contact with us is kept in the strictest confidence, and you are more than welcome to retain anonymity should you so choose.