DEA urges family conversations on drug abuse as kids head back to school
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Drug Enforcement Administration wants to remind parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of drugs as they head back to school.
The Omaha Division, which covers South Dakota, says roughly 5,000 pills have been seized through joint investigations so far this year, a surge over 1,200 seized last year in the state alone.
According to Omaha Division Public Information Officer Emily Murray, the pandemic slowed some seizures but not the number of deaths that occurred.
92,000 people died from drug overdoses last year, a 30% increase over 2019. More than half were attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and all it takes is two grams to be deadly. Murray says that’s the equivalent of two grains of salt.
“That’s being pushed into pills and there’s no quality control so you can get one pill that has no fentanyl and be purely a binding ingredient, or you can get a pill that has two grams or more of fentanyl,” said Murray. “So with that being said, it can be kind of scary when you don’t know what you’re taking, what you’re ingesting.”
She adds that it’s very important for families to discuss the dangers when presented in a peer pressure situation.
“Have these conversations with these kids and have an open dialogue so if their child is ever exposed to anything, they feel comfortable approaching their family members or a trusted adult about what is offered to them but they’ll also know in the back of their mind how to say no to things like that and how to do it comfortably and confidently.”
The DEA has also seen an uptick in counterfeit pills made of pressed methamphetamine, something the agency has seen laced into pills marketed and sold with common names like Adderall and Xanax.
“The truth of the matter is that there are some dangerous people pushing dangerous drugs and they don’t discriminate to whom they sell,” King said. “Talk with your family members and warn them about the dangers of taking pills not filled through a legitimate pharmacy and not prescribed to them individually. The conversation may just save their life.”