What drugs are trending? An Interview with Stephanie Siete, Public Information Officer, CBI “Fentanyl is everywhere. It is cut into heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and can be used in any...
What drugs are trending?
An Interview with Stephanie Siete, Public Information Officer, CBI
“Fentanyl is everywhere. It is cut into heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and can be used in any format..”
September is National Recovery Month. In support of it, below is a Q & A with Stephanie Siete, Public Information Officer for Community Bridges, Inc. She is providing information on the current drugs that are trending and encourages all families to open the conversation. It is our hope what you read here will be utilized to open discussions between parents and kids, educators and our community. Each day, lives are being lost to all types substances, including alcohol. While the focus of this interview is on young kids and teens; no one is immune from the devastation of what one pill can do. Be in the know.
Now that most schools are back in session, what are the most important points parents, caregivers and educators can provide kids, teens and young adults about drugs?
It’s important to learn early that life is a gift; not a given. We must make healthy decisions daily in order for us to live longer, better, quality lives. Start talking to kids at young ages about not putting chemicals into their bodies, as the young body and brain are constantly growing and developing well up until the age of 25. All voices matter. Kids will develop their “norms” based on information they hear consistently. Messages of loving life, eliminating risks, avoiding dangers are messages we can all support and reiterate to today’s youth.
Has there been an increase in drug overdoses since the beginning of the pandemic?
Sadly, yes. We’ve seen the most overdose drug deaths in history in this last year. We lost over 93,000 lives in America to drug overdose deaths in 2020. A majority, over 60% of the deaths were from synthetic opioids, with fentanyl leading the way. People are struggling with their mental health. During the pandemic, people lost lives, jobs, faith and hope. Rightfully so, a new virus appeared and those with compromised immunity or unhealthy lifestyles were severely impacted. Individuals lost jobs and income and their abilities to pay for homes or rent. Kids were out of school and away from friends. So many of us felt isolated and unfortunately, one well known way to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression is with prescription painkillers. Opioids are available legally and illegally. Heroin and Fentanyl are common powerful illicit opioids that are effective — effective in calming stress and anxiety, but also effective in calming the breathing to a point where it can be fatal resulting in respiratory arrest. We all need to breathe. Opioids are physically addictive and once behavioral patterns develop it can be hard to reverse.
Stopping on your own or “cold turkey” can cause one to be extremely sick with vomiting, diarrhea, chills, sweats, bone pain, and muscle aches lasting weeks upon weeks. The drug user may continue using the opioids to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. This just increases the likelihood of overdosing or respiratory arrest.
When kids of all ages hear about the fatalities caused by these drugs do you think it hits home with them? Is there a false sense belief it won’t happen to them or someone they know?
Kids are in denial. It’s not their fault. Their teen brain, with limited life experience doesn’t know any better. They want to learn on their own; create their own experiences. However; I am not afraid to be real with kids and adults right now about the world we are living in. Everyone needs to understand the seriousness and prevalence of fentanyl. It is everywhere. It is mixed with all drugs. There are no plain or “vanilla” drugs right now. Fentanyl is cut into heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and can be used in any format.
We learned over the years that pills can contain anything; but so can liquids like vapes or powders and crystals. I can’t say enough — it’s not worth the risk to try unknown chemicals. One time use could be fatal. We need to love and value our gift of life and make good decisions daily.
With the increasing amounts of fentanyl coming into Arizona, how best can we inform our communities about the extreme danger of this drug?
Get knowledgeable. Utilize free resources. Go to seminars. Watch documentaries. Read some of the information on these sites:
It’s a new world in drug dealing, how are they being sold distributed?
Drugs are everywhere. If you want them, you will find them. Drug exchanges used to be hand to hand or maybe coordinated via a call or text. There many more options now. If you are a parent or concerned adult, get familiar with social media apps like Snapchat, Grindr, Instagram and even Facebook. Learn codes and acronyms and monitor phone use. Older kids sell to younger kids, and again with the pandemic, there may be even more prescription drugs in the home. Lock them away and take note of how many you have. Check the over the counter drugs in your home as they too can be abused. Google the Benadryl Challenge and see that anything can be abused. It is way too easy for our youth to learn about teen challenges from friends and the internet.
Community Bridges is hosting three Facebook live events this month, what topics will be covered and who should watch?
Everyone should watch. We all could stand to be more knowledgeable. The 3 topics provide life beneficial information. There will be an elaboration of all the topics referenced in this article. Watch and learn about Snapchat, Chemicals of Concern and Recovery… why it matters and how to stay in it.
CARE (Celebrate the Art of Recovery Event) features
AZ Family Channel 3 news anchor Brandon Lee and panelists:
Tuesday, Sept. 7, 6:00 PM – FACEBOOK LIVE
Chemicals of Concern with Stephanie Siete, Public Information Officer, CBI
Tuesday, Sept. 14, 6:00 PM – FACEBOOK LIVE
Kids at Risk: Snapchat – The Newest Drug Dealing Trend with Ashley Thompson
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 6:00 PM – FACEBOOK LIVE
Growing in Recovery: Clean living: How Healthy eating, physical activity
and creative hobbies aid in recovery.
Recently two documentaries ‘Crime of the Century’ and ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ have aired, who do you recommend view these and why?
Many of us are still spending time at home and enjoying being with family, which is a great excuse to talk. Utilize family dinners and ask open ended questions about teen culture, drug knowledge and always wrap up conversations talking about love and life. It’s never too early to start having “real” talks. There are some helpful resources referenced in this article and there are also some informative shows you can stream online or watch on TV.
Crime of the Century is on HBO/Max and is a documentary about the history of the opioid epidemic and the founders of Oxycontin at Purdue Pharma, the Sackler Family. It is an eye opener that everyone should see as many lives have been lost to opioid addiction and overdoes. Since 2000, over 500,000 American lives have been lost to this epidemic.
There is also a book, Empire of Pain, by Patrick Radden Keefe, featured in the show Crime of the Century, that gives a more in depth look at the Sackler family history.
Cocaine Cowboys is another current show on Netflix about the rise of cocaine in Miami in the 1980s. There are books and movies with the same title that came out years earlier. All give the historical look at the popularity and demand of cocaine. Drugs definitely go in cycles and this was one of the starts to our American drug problem.
For the parents wanting to know more about vaping, I would also recommend Broken on Netflix. Episode 2 “Big Vapes” will give you an insight into this booming, addictive and highly potent nicotine trend.
There are so many references you can utilize. Don’t be left in the dark. Be in the know. It’s important to be informed and make better life decisions. Share what you learn and know with others, especially our youth as they are looking for guidance and direction. Again, we have one life. Let’s extend the opportunity of it, by reducing risks and spending our time wisely. This last year serves as reminder how precious life truly is. Be well. Be wise. Be in the know.
To learn more about CommunityBridges and the various support services they provide Arizona please visit www.communitybridgesaz.org.
DID YOU KNOW?
Facts about overdose
Drug overdose is a leading cause of injury death in the United States. Among people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose causes more deaths than motor vehicle accidents.
About 60 percent of overdose deaths involve prescription drugs.
- One of the most common places family members find a loved one who has overdosed is in their room alone.
- An overdose usually occurs within 1-3 hours after using the drug.
- Overdose can happen with first time use.
Risk of Overdose Increases when someone:
- Uses opiates while taking other depressants including alcohol or benzodiazepines like Valium or Xanax, or stimulants like cocaine or crack cocaine.
- Uses opiates after not using (abstinence), for example when leaving detox treatment or going home after being in jail. After periods of abstinence, the body’s tolerance for opiates is low.
- Uses heroin mixed with other dangerous substances, like Fentanyl, or a mixture of cocaine and heroin often called “speedballing.”
- Uses pure heroin after they have been using heroin that has been “cut,” or diluted with substances like sugar or baby formula.
- Sick with a cold, flu, asthma, or they smoke; these factors reduce the amount of oxygen they would normally get.
PLEASE CALL 911 in an emergency