Fentanyl Comes to Seattle

Recently, there have been many reports of local fentanyl overdoses and deaths.

Michael Marquess II, Reporter

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In the past 4 months, 3 teenagers in the Seattle area are dead from fentanyl related drug overdoses. Two teens, both students of Skyline High School, overdosed on August 11th and September 30th respectively. From Ballard High School, a 17-year-old overdosed on a similar fentanyl laced pill on the 29th of September, attracting more and more attention to the increasingly hazardous opioid crisis.

According to the Public Health Seattle & King County 2018 Overdose Death report, overdoses by young adults are rapidly increasing. Compared to the 23 deaths in 2016, the 66 deaths in 2018 are a shocking number. 82% of fentanyl-related deaths occured in combination with several other drugs.

Worried about this disturbing trend in fentanyl deaths, Ms. Wendy Wands and Officer Garrett Ware of BHS have initiated a movement throughout campus to inform and educate students of the encroaching dangers of the new drug culture. The most obvious example of this can be found in the many posters peppered throughout the campus’s bathrooms.

To Ms. Wands, the opioid crisis is one that is more dangerous than the all too recent brush with heroin, here in Bothell High. “Five years ago, heroin was prevalent here.” But the recent popularity of opioid products such as Xanax and Oxycodone eclipse the gravity of any other drug scare in the last decade.

On top of all of that, a new, much deadlier opioid has hit the streets. Known as carfentanil, the DEA warns that it is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, making users more susceptible to overdose. Shipped overseas from China, the drug is meant to be used on large animals, which is why dosing with human beings is extremely risky. As of now, the closest it has been detected in the proximity of King County was at the homeless camps near the Aurora Bridge.

As the decade approaches a close, the new generation of youth comes a step closer to a catastrophic drug culture that’s already taken hold. But even with all of the posters and assemblies that the school board can throw at students, Ms. Wands believes that getting clean is something people can only initiate themselves. “Until someone involved in drugs or alcohol are ready, they won’t get help.”