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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Candy or drugs?

The rising fentanyl epidemic
The worrisome of candy vs. drugs, increases in the ongoing fentanyl crisis
Kira McAuliffe
The worrisome of candy vs. drugs, increases in the ongoing fentanyl crisis

Nerds candy or fentanyl? This is the newest worry of people around the world in the ongoing fentanyl epidemic. 

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than methamphetamine, making it the deadliest drug facing the country. 

In the past year alone, over 108,000 people in the United States have died from a drug-related overdose. Of those deaths, 66% were fentanyl-related deaths. 

Cartels from Mexico have begun pushing out fentanyl products designed to be more appealing and therefore easier to market.  Similar to disguising marijuana in gummies to make getting high taste better, the new market disguises fentanyl look like Skittles, Sweetarts,Nerds, and other candies. 

The rainbow-colored pills are marketed towards high schoolers to those in their early 30s. The cartels know that by making this opioid look appealing, more people in this age group will be willing to buy it. Once they buy it, they will get addicted and keep returning for more. 

Drug cartels even follow children on social media to keep up with trends and study how to best market their products to children. They gather a lot of information and convince the kids to buy what they are selling, marketing it as candy, to get them addicted faster. 

Many don’t know the numerous dangers of fentanyl. At just under two milligrams, Fentanyl has a small dosage unit, equivalent to a few grains of salt. One pill may have one milligram of fentanyl, while another from the same batch may have three milligrams, enough dosage to kill a person.

In Iowa alone, nine kilograms of fentanyl were seized last year- enough lethal doses for four-and-a-half million users.

The drug cartels have shifted their products from pushing out marijuana to pushing out methamphetamines since marijuana was largely legalized in the US. The methamphetamine they use is extremely pure and addicting.

Methamphetamines are also an issue.

Within the Quad City area, methamphetamines are more of an issue now than fentanyl. Moline Police Officer Michael Griffin points out, ”The fact they are able to produce kilos of it is very relatively cheap, they are able to sell it cheaper and the cost is making it available to almost every drug user and they are becoming addicted quickly.” Making the product affordable is what drives addicts back to it. Users become so addicted that they will spend their last dollar on drugs, and the longer they can afford it, the longer the cartels make money. 

Since there hasn’t been a huge outbreak of fentanyl laced products in the QC community, schools have been lucky enough to not see any fentanyl-related overdoses. Deputy Fah, at PV reported,”I have not seen any fentanyl laced drugs in our school and we haven’t had any of that in our student population that I am aware of. We have a lot of other opioid-related stuff from prescription-related things but no one has reported having fentanyl in the buildings in schools in the area.” With the new rainbow colored fentanyl pills hitting the market, this could change, but for now there have been no reports from local school districts. 

Even though there haven’t been any cases in schools, that doesn’t mean the community hasn’t been affected. In October of 2021, police were called to a house in Davenport for an unresponsive 22-month old. The child was pronounced dead on scene. The cause of his death was released as acute fentanyl intoxication. Through some testing, he had also tested positive for cocaine, methamphetamines, and THC contents. Both parents were charged with child endangerment, child endangerment resulting in bodily injury, and child endangerment resulting in death. 

The best way to ensure you and your friends stay safe in this world of drugs is to make sure the source is reliable. Don’t take things from an unknown source. Griffin’s best advice for parents and teens would be that, “It’s important to talk to kids about drug use and safe drug use. Take for instance, marijuana, if a young person chooses to use marijuana only use marijuana that is sold from a dispensary that way you know what’s in it, unlike marijuana that is purchased off the street.” Although drug use is never encouraged, everyone should be safe in how they do it. 

Cartels may target a specific age group when promoting their products, but anyone can be affected by them. Since fentanyl is deadly, it is important to stay informed on it and spread awareness. No matter the age, everyone should be aware of this drug and how dangerous it can be when put into the wrong hands. 

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About the Contributor
Kira McAuliffe is a Pleasant Valley Senior and serves as the Student Life Editor on the Spartan Shield. She keeps busy working as a barista at Cody Road Coffee and nannying kids after school. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and going on spontaneous adventures. Kira also enjoys doing photography and driving around chasing sunsets. She loves traveling and her favorite places to go are Florida and Mexico. After High School, Kira will attend a 4-year university in hopes to study medicine and go into the medical field . She is looking forward to being a part of the Spartan Shield!   
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  • C

    Cole PearsonOct 11, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Sad to see that drugs are claiming the lives of unsuspecting and innocent people. It is even more sad to see they are making their products appealing to young kids and tempting them into taking the drugs and potentially claiming their lives.

    Reply
  • H

    HalleOct 6, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    Great article! It is very concerning that cartels are making these drugs look like candy, and also scary that the methamphetamine are becoming a bigger issue in the Quad City area.

    Reply
  • C

    CarolineOct 6, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    Really disheartening to see that younger children are vulnerable to fentanyl and other drugs. I agree that parents should talk to their kids about marijuana usage and safety in order to avoid deaths.

    Reply
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