Spooky Season and Fentanyl


Everyday Health

The dangers of fentanyl are real and spreading. Be on the look out for colorful pills that are aimed at imitating beloved Halloween sweets.

Emma Safari, Photojournalist

Fentanyl, a highly toxic opioid that can kill instantly – but what is it? According to the CDC, the original purpose of fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid, was to treat severe pain (cdc.gov). Typically, this drug is used to treat severe pain caused by cancer. Over the years, however, illegally-made fentanyl has hit the streets of the world. Oftentimes, it is-unknowingly to the user-mixed with heroin or cocaine to increase the euphoric high. Fentanyl is known to be 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

What does this have to do with the beloved Spooky Season of Halloween? The DEA, or the Drug Enforcement Agency, warns parents of an influx of laced pills and candies that are being handed out to kids as they are trick or treating. Mrs. Ward (Staff) expresses her concern about this, saying “My husband and I actually did have this discussion, and my first reaction was [to not] go trick or treating this year. But, my husband thought that was a little too strict, so, in the end, we decided that we would go. Usually, they could kind of trick or treat and eat as they go, but we are not letting them eat any of the candy before we go through it all. That’s the happy medium that we could find.

it causes a lot of concern as a high school teacher that some of my own students could be affected by this.”

— Mrs. Ward (S)

With more and more of this illegal substance finding its way into schools, neighborhoods, and homes, many are starting to fear what could possibly happen to their communities in the near future. “I think it is really scary, actually. It breaks my heart, first as a mother, that I have to worry about that. But really, it causes a lot of concern as a high school teacher that some of my own students could be affected by this,” shares Mrs. Ward (Staff).

During Halloween, parents are advised to be more careful of allowing their kids to eat open candies, such as lollipops and jolly ranchers, that are not sealed packages. Teenagers are also advised to read labels and understand the potential dangers that can stem from taking this potent substance. 

From 2019-2020, the number of fentanyl-related overdoses increased by 56%. This rate is eighteen higher than in 2013.  So, what can be done to prevent it? Having naloxone, also known as Narcan, on hand can save lives, and spreading awareness of the rapid-rising deaths caused by this drug are both methods that can be used to try and stop the overdoses. With all the tragedies and harm it brings, fentanyl is a drug that should never be messed with.