Important Information Ministry Of Education

DRUG OVERDOSES

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

TO KEEP YOU & YOUR FAMILY SAFE

Thank you for reading this important letter. We want to work with you to help keep young people safe. Over 500 people in the Province of British Columbia have died as a result of drug overdoses since the beginning of this year. A majority of these were associated with a substance called fentanyl. Most of these individuals did not realize the drug they were using contained fentanyl. The impact on the families and friends of these people has been devastating and irreparable.

In light of these tragedies, BC Emergency Health Services, Richmond Addiction Services, Richmond District Parents Association, Richmond Fire-Rescue, Richmond RCMP, Richmond School District and Vancouver Coastal Health are partnering to provide this information to parents about fentanyl and the risk of overdose. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid narcotic which is 100 times more toxic than morphine. It is a prescription drug primarily used to manage extreme pain. Extremely small amounts of fentanyl (up to 2 milligrams) can cause breathing to slow down and can lead to brain injury or even death. In the illegal drug trade, illicitly manufactured fentanyl is added or substituted into other drugs such asheroin, oxycodone, cocaine and other drugs. It is most often cut into powder, or pill form. You can’t see, smell, or taste it. There is no way for people to know if or how much fentanyl may be in the drug they are about to consume. Overdoses do not discriminate. Children by nature are curious and teens in particular are willing to take risks, including drug use. This holds true for teens across the spectrum of socioeconomic, cultural or religious backgrounds. Please don't assume that your teen has not used or is not thinking about drugs. The best option is to start a conversation.

Please talk to your children. Evidence shows that teens who have supportive relationships with adults (family members, teachers or professionals) have a lower tendency to use drugs. Supporting teens means being open and honest and listening to what they have to say. Talk to them about the things that are important to them in their life (such as family, friends, school, sports, art) and how these activities might be aected by drugs. Make sure they know they can come to you if they need help.

Please find attached information on things to consider when talking to your teens about drug use and local resources to support teens and families.  Taking the time to learn about drugs and drug prevention will lead to meaningful conversations with your son/daughter and could make all the dierence.

Thank you.