PRESCRIPTION DRUG MISUSE
This reference guide is intended to give parents, caregivers, educators, and other influencers a better sense of how emojis are being used in conjunction with illegal drugs. Fake prescription pills, commonly laced with deadly fentanyl and methamphetamine, are often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone.
Find out more about "You Think You Know," a public awareness campaign in CT.
Kids Can Buy Drugs Easier Than You Think
What You Need to Know About Drugs on Social Media
Kids used to have limited options for where they could get drugs: friends at school, medicine cabinets or on the street. Now they don’t even have to leave the house. Buying drugs online has become increasingly popular and drug dealers are targeting kids on social media.
How Does it Work?
Snapchat and Instagram are the popular platforms for this, but it happens on other platforms too. Dealers post photos with captions that include hashtags, emojis and instructions for contacting the them. Communication and transactions usually occur off of the site using encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp or Kik. The buyer can pay using a service like Venmo and the product is shipped to their door. Sometimes people do choose to meet in person and pay with cash.
COMMONLY ABUSED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
Opioid Pain Relievers (e.g. OxyContin, Vicodin)
Depressants (e.g. Xanax, Valium)
Stimulants (e.g. Adderall, Ritalin)
WHAT ARE OPIOIDS?
Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin as well as powerful pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and many others. Regular use—even as prescribed by a doctor—can produce dependence, and when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to a fatal overdose.
Long-term use of prescription opioids, even when used as prescribed, can cause some people to develop a tolerance, which means a person needs a higher dose and/or a more frequent dose of the drug to get the same effect.
WARNING SIGNS OF OPIOID ADDICTION
The strong desire to use opioids
The inability to control or reduce use of opioids
Development of a tolerance
Showing signs of withdrawal after stopping or reducing use
Difficulty meeting social and/or work commitments
Experiencing legal problems due to substance use
Spending large amounts of time accessing opioids
XYLAZINE: AN EMERGING THREAT
“Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier,” said Administrator Milgram. “DEA has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 States. The DEA Laboratory System is reporting that in 2022 approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine.”
Xylazine appeared in Connecticut overdose deaths for the first time in 2019. Xylazine/fentanyl combinations were involved in 71 overdoses that year. By 2022, that number increased significantly with xylazine being involved in 353 overdose deaths in the state; this is 24.7% of all overdoses. This is particularly concerning due to the fact xylazine is not an opioid so an overdose cannot be reversed by naloxone. However, it is always recommended to administer naloxone when any overdose is suspected.
PREVENT PRESCRIPTION DRUG MISUSE!
Many teens believe prescription drugs are a safe way to get high.
You can help keep them safe.
Have age-appropriate discussions about the dangers of taking RX medications.
SECURE YOUR MEDICATIONS
Know what medications you have in your home and how many pills are in the bottles. It is best to keep your medications in a secure lock box.
PREVENT AN OVERDOSE
If you suspect an overdose, CALL 911 immediately and administer Narcan if available!
An overdose can happen to anyone! Opioids are depressants, which slow a person's breathing rate and can prevent the heart and other essential organs from getting enough oxygen to function. An overdose can result in a coma or death.
If caught quickly, an overdose can be reversed with naloxone (Narcan).
Did you know ... the Good Samaritan Law in the state of Connecticut protect people who call 911 seeking emergency medical services for an overdose from arrest for possession of drugs/paraphernalia. Learn more.
Find information on prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery.
Also get tips on safe prescription medication storage and disposal, information of statewide initiatives and campaigns, strategies for overdose prevention, and access to treatment and recovery supports.
The self-stick labels fit on insurance and RX cards without covering up important information. The card lists questions to ask of doctors, dentists and pharmacists.