Survey: Nearly 50% of Arizona 8th grade students have never heard of fentanyl

Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs with only one pill being deadly but a new survey shows that 33% of 10th graders never heard of it.
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 4:55 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Kids are back in school, and with that comes stress. A new survey finds stress the number one reason behind substance abuse. “This was a misguided decision that impacted his entire life,” said Shari Dukes, who lost her son Ethan in 2019. She describes him as a good 16-year-old kid who was in advanced classes.

Still, Dukes admits Ethan had recently fallen into a depression, leading him to get into some trouble. But she never expected to find him dead of fentanyl poisoning after he took a hydrocodone pill that ended up having 2 kilograms of fentanyl.

“He is always going to be gone, and I will always love him. But we as parents need to make sure that this does not happen to anyone else by talking to our kids, by talking to our school districts, making sure they are providing the resources and support for all of our kids,” she said.

Dukes doesn’t have the answer to solve this growing problem, but says sometimes the simplest things can have the biggest impacts. “This is my 44th year as an administrator at a school district. I had conversations with my son, and when I read the autopsy report to say fentanyl, I didn’t even know how to spell it,” she said.

The Arizona Youth Survey found that 17% of students talked to their parents about the dangers of fentanyl, while less than 3% of students surveyed knowingly used it. “70% of the fentanyl pills that are being seized, coming into our country, are coming across the Arizona borders. So we are the main highway for fentanyl pills,” said Andrew LeFevre, Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Commission Of Arizona.

That agency led this survey and says their solution is using these statistics for funding education programs. “The number one thing I think we can do is help educate our youth and help educate parents on how to talk to our youth about the the dangers of fentanyl,” he said.

The survey also gives Arizona the ability to apply for grants, which fund more resources. For more information, visit the Arizona Youth Survey here.