Health

Mother Warns Parents About Fentanyl Epidemic

Mother Sherri Kent sent a warning to parents across Canada after her son died from an overdose of fentanyl: you don't need to be addicted to overdose on the drug.  

“My son was not an addict,” she wrote in a Facebook post on April 19. “He made a mistake that cost him his life.”


​Fentanyl is unlike other opioids in terms of sheer potency. By some estimates, the drug is up to 100 times more powerful than heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And it’s increasingly being added to heroin, unbeknownst to users, which has contributed to mass overdoses in both the U.S. and Canada.

This image illustrates the relative dangers of using heroin compared to fentanyl.

It takes about 30 milligrams of heroin to die from an overdose, whereas only three milligrams of fentanyl will kill an average adult, Stat News reported. 

Of the 922 fatal overdoses that occurred in the Canadian province British Columbia in 2016, about two-thirds involved fentanyl, HuffPost reported. That same year, about 75 percent of the 1,374 people who died from opioid-related overdoses in Massachusetts used fentanyl.

fentanyl

“It’s out of control and there is no way to protect our children from this other than to warn them of the dangers of drug use today,” Kent wrote. “I’ve lost my son to this horrible tragedy and want to make parents aware that it can happen to anyone who decided to touch anything that can be snorted up your nose.”

The key word there is “today.” Opioid-related drug use today is arguably more dangerous than five years ago, when more potent products such as fentanyl and the large mammal tranquilizer carfentanil rarely appeared in the black market.

With opioid overdoses persistently rising, though, Kent’s post serves as a reminder of the deadly reality.