The Rising Fentanyl Crisis in Santa Clarita Teens

Ryan Vasquez, Co-Editor In Cheif

The Fentanyl epidemic continues to grow rapidly in Santa Clarita, affecting teens in particular. As of the past year 23 people have died, the majority being teenagers. According to KHTS, Captain Dean of the Los Angeles county Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau stated that “Santa Clarita and the northern part of L.A. County, including Palmdale and Lancaster, are the highest areas for Fentanyl overdoses,” Dean said.

Fentanyl overdoses have been increasing due to the use of other drugs that have been laced with Fentanyl. ” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told Abc 7, “ If they’re buying anything online via any social media platform, it’s going to have Fentanyl.” So why is it so dangerous? Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to drugs like morphine, only 100 to 200 times stronger.

With the rate of teens overdosing climbing higher, Saugus administration has taken action to spread awareness by showing the documentary Dead On Arrival by Dominic Tierno about the issue daily on the Saugus News Network before classes. Saugus Principal Peterson Henry told The Scroll that by showing these videos to students the goal was to “[educate] and to save lives.” She also added that “[Administration] we wanted to take extra care and make sure we had support in place for both students and staff. We also wanted to make sure parents knew what was going on as well” when deciding how to share this information with Saugus students specifically due to the sensitive subject matter in the documentary.

The City of Santa Clarita has however released information to show how they are attacking the crisis. On September 23 an informational parent symposium was held at city hall, mediated by Captain Justin Diez with speakers from the juvenile Intervention Team, members of the Mental Evaluation Team and student resource deputies.

photo courtesy of city of santa clarita
Parents at the Scv resource symposium at Captain speaks about the dangers of fentynal on sep 23

In an interview with captain Justin Diez he told the scroll one of the main goals at the symposium was  “to educate [parents] because knowledge is power, and to show them resources”. Fentanyl is such an issue because nobody knows when they’re taking it. Diez added that  “we know that drugs are dangerous but the really scary thing is what could seem like an innocent drug may not be and it could be fentanyl and it could kill you on your first try”. 

Photo Courtesy Of City Of Santa Clarita
display of ways illegal substances can be hidden at scv parent resource symposium

The important thing for students to know is that they have access to many resources whether they are thinking of turning to drugs to cope with anxiety or if they already have. Saugus has many personnel such as counselors, resource deputies, as well as the school social worker, Mr Rounseville. There are also resources around the city that students can access as well. The DFY in Scv or Drug free youth in Santa Clarita valley is a club that has representatives for the campus in the William S Hart district. Students have access to other resources such as ROWI a teen and parent wellness center which is a mental health treatment center for teens ages 12 to 17 with therapy for individuals, groups, and families. Students can access more information about ROWI resources online or through the school’s wellness center.

photo courtesy of city of santa clarita
Rowi representatives at the symposium

Above all students should be weary of not only Fentanyl but any drugs and the risks that come with them. Do not be ignorant and think that this couldn’t happen to you.