Wichita teen explains ease of access to fentanyl, other drugs

It’s a situation that’s happening in every day. Young people are dying from synthetic fentanyl and often, they didn’t mean to take it.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 9:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - It’s a situation that’s happening in every day. Young people are dying from synthetic fentanyl and often, they didn’t mean to take it. In some calls, they thought it was Percocet or oxy. It’s especially concerning as a trace amount of fentanyl can be deadly. A tiny amount of the drug, broken down enough to fit on the end of a pencil is all it takes to be lethal.

Even if you’ve heard about fentanyl, you’re going to start seeing more as the problems with it relate to Kansas. Calls to 911 are increasing, people are dying and the Sedgwick County sheriff is asking us to help raise concern. That includes a warning to parents that fentanyl is available to their children, it’s easy for them to get and they likely have enough money to buy it right now.

Looking at the availability of the dangerous drug, Eyewitness News spoke with one local teen about what it’s like in the halls of her high school. The teen specifically talked about a classmate who died after taking a pill believed to have been laced with fentanyl.

“It kind of spread around the school that something happened to him. People thought it was a joke or something. And then, word got out that he [overdosed],” the teen said.

A classmate, friend, boyfriend, and son, gone after taking what classmates believe he thought was just a pill. But according to authorities, that pill was suspected to be laced with deadly amounts of fentanyl. The teen who spoke with Eyewitness News, a friend of his, wanted to remain anonymous, but thought it was important to talk about what happened.

“It hurts a lot of people. And I know his intentions were not that at all, which is so sad,” the teen said. “He had no idea that that was going to be his last night from a single pill that he thought would just give him a little trip. But it ended up taking his life.”

The teen said she’s witnessed how easy drugs and alcohol can be accessed. All that’s needed, even in school, she said, is a phone and money.

“Yeah, people do drug deals or buy bottles of alcohol disguised at school or in the parking lot,” she said. “Or, they meet somewhere after. It doesn’t really have a limit on where it’s at, you know? You can easily hide it in something and then they can just slide you money. It’s just easy.”

The high school student said it’s not just the older kids.

“I’ve heard middle schoolers talking about weed and smoking weed,” she said. “And it’s just scary, younger kids are just starting at such a young age. And it’s leading to these addictions and deaths.”

And you never know who could be taking these drugs. The teen who spoke with Eyewitness news said the classmate who died “was never the type of person to voluntarily do pills.”

“I mean, at least I never knew about that,” the teen said. “So, that’s why I was a little confused. And I guess he brought them and was planning to share 30 of them with some of his friends.”

The teen said many don’t realize how dangerous situations can be, especially with the distribution of substances where those using them don’t know what’s in them.

“More and more things are being laced and spread around,” the teen said. “I mean, God forbid if he would’ve sent those other pills to all those other students. We would’ve lost even more people.”

There was a funeral instead of a graduation party, an obituary instead of a dedication page. A friend, a child a loved one, gone too soon.

“We’re so young and we still have an actual life to live. Cutting it short due to something as stupid as drugs? I feel if a parent genuinely just shows true concern for their child’s safety and then they both understand each other... It’s important to talk about,” the teen said.

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