Fentanyl Concerns Arise in Local Areas


(Graphic by Aidan Shen)

The increase of fentanyl overdoses in Orange County and Los Angeles over the past few months has been widely discussed by faculty and members of the surrounding community. Substance abuse is not only a local problem but also an international crisis that affects cities everywhere. 

The most prominent worry for many parents of young adults is how dangerous fentanyl has proven itself to be. According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, as many as “5,000 hospitalizations and 600 deaths” occur each year in Orange County due to drug and alcohol overdoses or poisonings. 

After several young members of the community have overdosed in the past few months, awareness has taken a significant hold on locals. 

Cole Graham, a 2014 graduate of PVHS, came to the school to bring more attention to drugs and tell his story. As someone who formerly struggled with dependence on drugs, Graham explained what his own experience was like. 

He suffered from multiple counts of recurring overdoses over years of substance usage. He talked about the progression of his addiction over time and how the drugs he was using got increasingly dangerous. 

“It continued to progress from the cocaine, to the xanax, and from the xanax, when that didn’t work…I started using fentanyl,” Graham said. 

It’s incredibly important for close family and friends to spot the signs of abuse before it’s too late. 

Jinnie Song has been the school nurse for the past year at PVHS and has not witnessed any serious fatal drug incidents but still wants to give a helping hand. 

“[I’ve] heard about it…seen it on the news,” she said, also giving a few tips to stop it from happening.

Although she has no direct experience with fentanyl itself, she listed the following ways to help prevent an overdose from happening: educating students about drugs and their effects and looking for signs of drug use such as dilated pupils or bloodshot eyes. 

Young adults and teens need to be aware of fentanyl and other powerful psychedelic drugs in settings where they are likely to be. With more drug education and support resources, the recent deaths of the young teens in Orange County and Los Angeles could have been prevented.

Spreading awareness about the deadliness of drug use can help prevent Palos Verdes students from suffering the same tragedy.