Texas Wants to Know: What’s behind the fentanyl crisis?

The city of Dallas made a significant impact in combating opioid overdose last year, with Dallas Fire Rescue paramedics administering 1,925 doses of Narcan. Now, Dallas Police are considering implementing Narcan into their toolkit.

Narcan, a life-saving medication used to reverse opioid overdose, has become an integral part of the larger conversation surrounding fentanyl and the tragic deaths it has caused.

In this episode of Texas Wants to Know, our host Baylee Friday talks to John Mark Mehlman, a licensed professional and chemical dependency counselor. John serves as the program administrator for the Collin County Substance Abuse Program.

According to John, 60% of the drugs currently seized by the DEA contain fentanyl. Even more alarming, 42% of these fentanyl-laced drugs contain at least two milligrams, a dosage that can prove lethal.

This substance has changed countless lives, particularly among individuals under the age of 30. Cynthia Pursely, an advocate who lost her stepson to fentanyl, founded the non-profit organization Livegy to raise awareness and combat this crisis.

"The rise in fentanyl abuse is a concerning trend," Cynthia said. "We have observed its growth pattern since 2017, and it has spiked dramatically in 2020 and 2021."

Continuing the conversation, Baylee also sits down with Dr. Wendy Eldredge, the superintendent of Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. Dr. Eldredge shares the district's proactive approach in addressing the fentanyl crisis.

"Our dedicated nurses, in collaboration with our campus staff, have taken the initiative to train all our team members on the proper use of Narcan to combat overdose situations," explains Dr. Eldredge.

The episode delves into topics such as facilitating difficult conversations between parents and teenagers, identifying signs of drug abuse, and providing resources for those seeking support and assistance.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images