PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s being called the worst drug epidemic the country has ever faced and it’s killing people in unprecedented numbers. It’s a silent killer, and it’s easily available. Because of that, teens are vulnerable targets. Arizona’s DEA special agent in charge, Doug Coleman, has a strong warning for parents.
[SPECIAL SECTION: The Fentanyl Crisis]
“People have no idea the power behind what they're going to pop down their throat,” says Coleman.
It's a deadly poison taking over our country and killing the people we love.
“Right now, we're in throes of probably the worst drug epidemic the country's ever seen. It certainly is when you stack up the amount of bodies that are behind this problem,” Coleman said.
[TIMELINE: Emergence of the opioid crisis]
Fentanyl is paving a deadly and destructive path. It's a nationwide epidemic no one is immune to.
“When you talk about fentanyl, and you talk about the opioid epidemic in general, it touches every class. It touches every race. It touches every socioeconomic status, so it's a widespread massive problem in the country,” said Coleman.
According to Coleman, who oversees the Drug Enforcement Agency here in Arizona, kids and teens may be even more vulnerable to this deadly drug because it's so easy and accessible to buy. All they need is usually in the palm of their hand.
“Your kid can sit next to you on the couch, get on their smartphone, order a couple of grams of fentanyl from an underground website or from a Chinese website for 50 or 100 bucks that will show up at your doorstep in four days,” Coleman said.
Coleman says it could happening right under your nose and you might not even know.
That's why he says it's imperative that parents keep constantly educating their kids about the dangers of this toxic drug and to keep a tight eye on what they are doing, especially on their computers and cellphones.
“If you're not paying to what they're doing and you're not paying attention to what they're doing on those smartphones and you're not involved in their lives, you're running the risk that fentanyl shows up in your mailbox and lands in your house. It's that easy,” Coleman said.