You may want to explain that sometimes people take these drugs because they are depressed, have trouble sleeping, or have untreated pain – but there are better, safer ways to treat these problems, and they can and should talk to you if they ever need help or have questions.
“Focus on not blaming, not assuming, expressing concerns, asking for two minutes to share information,” says Dr. Banta-Green. Josh McKivigan, a licensed adolescent therapist based in Pittsburgh, adds that the goal is to “remove the taboo and keep the conversations going.” If you feel you can’t talk to your child, ask a trusted adult, such as a coach, friend or relative, to talk to them.
Finding time each week to connect with teens without nagging or talking to them about rule violations or schoolwork, says McKivigan. Building a connection and trust with your child helps ensure that if they are having trouble with drugs, they will turn to you for help. “They know you’ll be there for them, that you’re invested in listening to them,” he said.
Learn how to detect and treat an overdose.
When someone overdoses on fentanyl, breathing slows and the skin, especially the fingernails and lips, often turns bluish due to lack of oxygen, says Dr. Jones. He taught people to try to awaken individuals by vigorously rubbing their knuckles in the center of the chest. “If you rub them hard on the sternum and they don’t wake up or react, then they’re probably in trouble,” he said.
If you think someone is overdosed, “don’t wait – call 911 immediately,” says Dr. Jones, again, because a fentanyl overdose can be fatal very quickly. If you are concerned that a loved one may be exposed to fentanyl – for example, if they or their friends occasionally experiment with drugs that may be contaminated – you may also want to buy naloxone, one Medicines can quickly reverse an opioid overdose. He also introduced trained on how to use it, carry it with you at all times and use it as soon as possible if a person seems to be taking an overdose.
There is a common belief that naloxone does not treat fentanyl overdose, but that is not true, said Julie O’Donnell, an epidemiologist and overdose expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Most states personal protection from liability or prosecution if they distribute or distribute naloxone. Most states also have The Good Laws of the Samaritans protect 911 callers from prosecution for drug-related crimes.)