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"Anyone who has struggled to overcome addiction understands the powerful effect it has on the brain. What was once considered a matter of willpower is now understood to be a complex and chronic brain disease influenced by genetics, environment, and social and emotional factors. But despite the urgent need to develop new prevention and treatment options for addiction, little headway has been made by scientists and clinicians toward understanding this devastating disorder."
MIT - McGovern Institute

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Most of these deaths are
due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Since approximately 2015, deadly doses of fentanyl have been found in more and more illicit drugs including fake pills made to look like prescription medications and sold on the street or online. 

PLEASE WATCH this 2 minute video to fully understand this issue 

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NATIONAL RESOURCES

SAMHSA’s National Helpline  

Free, confidential, 24/7 treatment referral and information service (English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Partnership to End Addiction

Launched a fentanyl resource hub that provides evidence-based information for parents and caregivers

Learn2Cope: Peer led support network for families dealing with addiction and recovery

Take Action!

Get the word out about fentanyl poisoning the U.S. illicit drug supply. Make sure your school district is talking about this

Check out the DEA One Pill Can Kill campaign

MASSACHUSETTS RESOURCES

Needham, MA Parent Alanon Meeting: Mondays 7:00-8:30, https://zoom.us/j/99289460651, Meeting ID: 992 8946 0651, Password: 441337Dian in:   +1 929 205 6099

MA Substance Use Information and Education Help Line: 800-327-5050

Alcoholics Anonymous (Boston): 617-426-9444

Greater Boston Addiction Centers: Help getting started on the road to recovery. 877-926-3034

Support After a Loss From Overdose (SADOD) 

Statistics and More

Early drug abuse correlates with substance use issues later in life:

  • Drug use among 8th graders increased 61% between 2016 and 2020.

  • 43% of college students use illicit drugs.

  • 86% of teenagers know someone who smokes, drinks, or uses drugs during the school day.

  • 2.08 million or 8.33% of 12- to 17-year-olds nationwide report using drugs in the last month.

  • 591,000 12- to 17-year-olds used an illicit drug other than marijuana in the last month.

  • 21.3% of 8th graders have tried illicit drugs at least once.

  • By the time they’re in 12th grade, 46.6% of teens have tried illicit drugs.

  • 4,777 Americans aged 15 to 24 died of an overdose of illicit drugs in 2019.

  • 788,000 12- to 17-year-olds meet the criteria for Illicit Drug Use Disorder (IDUD).

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Harm Reduction

Harm reduction acknowledges the dignity and humanity of people who use substances, and attempts to:

  1. Save lives by preventing overdoses,

  2. Bring people suffering with substance use disorder into a community of care, instead of leaving them to hide in the shadows. 

Harm reduction accepts that for many reasons including past trauma, poverty, class, racism, social isolation and genetics, each of us is vulnerable to Substance Use Disorder. Harm reduction strategies (e.g. Narcan and Fenanyl testing strips) are aimed at reducing the negative consequences of substance use.

How might the concept of harm reduction be applied to adolescents? While the majority of adolescents who use may not require the kind of harm reduction strategies that adults need, the harm reduction approach is still important and can save young lives. If Becca had been aware of, and had taken some of the precautions outlined in this harm reduction tips document, she would likely be alive today.

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