The next wave of the opioid crisis

Outbreak in overdoses due to spiked drugs cause concern at Jones


*Indicates a name has been changed for privacy reasons


Rates of teenage drug overdoses are higher than ever before, and with this rise comes an urgent need to look for solutions. 

Because drugs have increased accessibility throughout the years, the rate at which high schoolers have access to drugs grows with it. It is extremely common for highschoolers to have had experiences with drugs, as many people partake in it with their peers. 

“When I do drugs, I am always in a group and in the house. Also, I get it from an older sibling who we can trust, or we take it from our parents,” said Finley Freeman*. 

Young people use drugs for a variety of reasons, including recreational use to help alleviate stressors in their lives. For this reason, marijuana use is especially common among young people, which a student has expressed they use to “just chill and lay back.”

A number of students take precautions to ensure their safety when using any drug, often confiding in their family members, or setting limits for themselves. 

“If I was doing drugs and I started to feel something unusual, I would call my dad, even if he might be mad at me,” said Gabriella Griffin*. 

It is becoming increasingly common for drugs to be spiked or tampered with, especially when considering more potent drugs like opioids and fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. According to the New York Times, in 2021, deaths involving fentanyl rose to 71,000 from 58,000. 

Though Fentanyl is overall affecting adults more, it does not make it a drug exclusive to those of age. 

“I know two people who have accidentally taken fentanyl,” said Freeman*. “With rising rates of fentanyl spiking, I will be sure to never take anything from strangers.”

However, despite precarious efforts, an increase in teenage drug use has many parents on edge.

“It’s scary, and it’s sad to me as a parent that teenagers are using illicit drugs,” said an anonymous parent of a Jones student.

Numerous parents argue that drug use in the end has more consequences than benefits. 

“I think teenagers resort to using drugs because of stress or anxiety or other things going on in their lives and they think that that’s gonna give them a way out,” said an anonymous Jones parent. “The truth is that it just ends up hurting them more and hurts not only them but their families and friends too.”

However, many parents share the sentiment that there is no reason that justifies the suffering that comes with taking drugs.

“I always tell my daughter that it’s not worth it, that problems will come and go and trying drugs, even if you think, ‘Oh, I’ll just try it once just for fun,’ isn’t worth a lifetime of addiction and suffering,” said an anonymous Jones parent. 

Addiction is a harsh reality that parents want their children to avoid. Having alternatives to drug use to cope with issues can help avoid unwanted addiction.

“I think my greatest piece of advice as a parent would be that if you’re really struggling with something, talk to someone,”said an anonymous Jones parent. “We are here for you and there are therapists and doctors and dozens of other ways to cope then resorting to drugs.”