Green beans, apples, shady eighties, greenies or fake oxy are all making their rounds on the street, but do you know what’s in them? Don’t be fooled.

Fentanyl is often passed off as the new form of OxyContin and is about 100 times more toxic than morphine, heroin, or oxycodone.

In 2014 alone, there were more than 100 deaths in Alberta, associated with Fentanyl. From January 1, 2015, to September 30, 2015, there had been 213 Albertan deaths associated with fentanyl. In a number of those deaths, the people had many other drugs in their blood as well, including medicine used for animals.

Fact is: you never really know what you’re getting, no matter what you buy, fentanyl may be hiding in the drugs you’re using, and it can kill you.

Fentanyl is a strong medicine made from opioids (chemicals used to treat sudden and ongoing pain), however, on the street fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs and sold as fake oxycodone. Buyers may think they’re getting oxycodone or another drug, but they’re getting another opioid drug that has fentanyl and other substances in it.

People take prescription fentanyl to help with pain (e.g., from cancer) that another medicine has not been able to help with. Others may use it to get high or to help with sleep. Only medications prescribed by a doctor are safe when following your doctor’s directions and taking the recommended dose. Drugs bought on the street are never safe. 

Talk To Your Kids About Drugs

Here are a few other tips that might be helpful to talk to your kids about drugs:

  • Stay calm. Remember, you are the parent and you are in charge.
  • Try speaking to your child side by side instead of face to face; it may seem less threatening that way.
  • Use facts, not emotions, and avoid saying everything all at once. Less is more!
  • Use the news. Fortunately (or unfortunately) there is no shortage of stories about drugs on TV, the newspaper, or the internet? Need proof? Just type in “drug stories” on your favourite search engine and see how many hits you get. Use stories, current events, or discussions on school life as an opportunity to ask them for their opinion on it. “What did you think about that?” might be one way to open up the discussion.
  • Be a good listener. Give them room to participate and ask questions. Respect their opinion.
  • Don’t preach. Kids are more likely to be turned off the message if they think you’re preaching from the pulpit.
  • Remember to tell your child that you love them and you’re concerned about them.
  • And finally, you will have this discussion many times. Mini-conversations are better than long boring ones!

Fentanyl may be hiding in the drugs you’re using. You won’t see it, smell it or taste it, but it can kill you. If you’re going to use, don’t use alone. And, get Naloxone.