Fentanyl Awareness: A Message from the MCPS Medical Officer About the Dangers of Illicit Fentanyl
The Office of the School System Medical Officer of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is bringing attention to a dangerous trend in substance use affecting our community. Synthetic opioids, specifically illegally made fentanyl, are increasingly responsible for overdoses and overdose deaths. MCPS continues to work diligently alongside local government authorities and community partners on a comprehensive and coordinated approach to this dangerous epidemic.
A message went out to the school community Friday detailing what fentanyl is, dangers of illicit fentanyl, what families can do to help protect youth, and MCPS’ collaboration with community partners to combat this epidemic.
Fentanyl is a prescription medication for pain that is 50 to100 times more powerful than morphine. The type of fentanyl driving overdose deaths is illegally made and sold in the form of powder, pills, liquid, or nasal sprays. Other drug products like marijuana, cocaine, heroin or illegally sold pills thought to be prescription medicine may be laced with illicit fentanyl, without the knowledge of the user.
Montgomery County and Maryland:
Montgomery Goes Purple – MGP is Montgomery County’s coalition of government agencies, community organizations and individuals offering education, resources and support regarding substance use and recovery, for the entire community. Select resources from the coalition:
List of Substance Use Treatment Providers for Adolescents in Montgomery County (Additional resources can be located through SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator)
Family Support Virtual Meetings for Parents or Caregivers of Children or Youth Living with Mental Health, Substance Use, or Co-occurring Challenges
Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services’
“Know the Risks” Opioid Resource Center – education, services and other resources for Montgomery County residents.
Child and Adolescent Assessment Services (CAAS, formerly called SASCA) – provides mental health/substance use screenings for residents under 18 years old. Call 240-777-4000 to schedule an appointment.
BTheOne – Teen friendly resource on how to support friends and loved ones struggling with mental health or substance use. Includes crisis and advocacy resources.
Harm Reduction Services– Providing free education and harm reduction supplies to the community including access to naloxone and training, fentanyl test strips, and other harm reduction supplies and referrals for those struggling with substance use disorder. Call 240-777-1836 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Parent CRAFT is a video training free for Maryland parents and other caregivers interested in learning skills to support teenagers around substance use.
Maryland Insurance Administration – offers information on health insurance coverage for mental health and substance use treatment. Health insurance companies are required by law to cover this care in most cases. More information can be found on the Parity at 10 website; individuals can contact the Legal Action Center if having difficulty accessing treatment for this reason.
988: The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) – Counselors offer confidential services 24/7 by phone by calling 988, or by web chat or SMS text. Special services are offered for LGBTQ+ people under age 25 years.
Montgomery County 24 Hour Crisis Center – 24/7 in person or telephone support for all crises, both psychiatric and related to other situations. Services include a Mobile Crisis Team that provides emergency crisis evaluations. Call the Crisis Center at 240-77-4000, or seek in person services at 1301 Piccard Drive, Rockville, MD 20850. Services are available in multiple languages and for residents of all ages.
Maryland Department of Health Overdose Response Program: “How to Use Naloxone” – includes information on recognizing an opioid overdose and video training for naloxone.
University of California, Davis, Medical Center: “How to Use a Naloxone Kit in the Event of an Overdose” – a handy and portable one-pager (double-sided) on how to recognize and overdose and use naloxone.
Children’s National Hospital – “Rainbow Fentanyl: The Trending Drug Parents Need to Know About” by Child and Adolescent Addiction Psychiatrist Dr. Kaliamurthy.
American Academy of Pediatrics’ Substance Use Resource Page – “The Opioid Epidemic: How to Protect Your Family”; “Talk to Your Teen About Drugs – And Keep Talking”; “When Teens Use Drugs: Taking Action”.
The CDC’s Opioid Resource Center includes specific information about fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, overdose prevention, and the emergency medicine naloxone (Narcan).
One Pill Can Kill , an educational campaign of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration – “What Every Parent and Caregiver Needs to Know about FAKE PILLS”; “Counterfeit Pills Fact Sheet”.