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ROC Weekly News Bites
Fentanyl-laced Vape Pens in High Schools, Drug More Potent Than Fentanyl Found in DC, and Social Media Addictions in Children
Here is a recap of some of the top industry-related news stories of the week:
Fentanyl-laced vape pens among teens concern after Tennessee high school incident
Three high-school staff members experienced fentanyl exposure believed to be from fentanyl-laced vape pens belonging to students.
Exposure to even trace amounts of fentanyl is dangerous, and the effects of vaporized fentanyl are still unknown.
Pat Fogarty, the Senior VP of Operations at Addiction Recovery Care, says “This stuff is hard to control, and it’s measured on such a small amount that it’s certainly impossible for people at the street level. So when we’re talking vaporized fentanyl, I don’t have any answers for that. This is new to all of us.”
The finding is especially alarming, as it is expected that fentanyl laced vape pens are becoming a trend among teens.
DC chemist finds drug more potent than fentanyl that's on city streets now
A new street drug more potent than fentanyl, called nitazene, will change how much Narcan is needed to save lives.
Chemist Alexandra Evans works at a syringe surveillance program for the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences. As part of the program, she collects needles and substances their syringe exchange partners get from users throughout the city and test them to see what people are using in real time.
While fentanyl is a common find, in September they discovered nitazene, a family of opioids. As nitazene is stronger than fentanyl, responders are likely going to need to use multiple rounds of Narcan when responding to cases of overdose. There is also an expected increase of overdoes to result from it.
“It just shows that this opioid epidemic is not going anywhere," Levitas said. "There's constantly new drugs that we're seeing, and they're changing, and they're evolving. And we have to keep up with that.”
Kids facing new addiction - social media
Doctors are claiming that children’s brains react to social media the same way as if they were addicted to drugs.
Dr. Martin Paulus, a psychiatrist with the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, says that “Social reward, which is essentially what social media capitalized on, is activating the same brain systems that drugs like cocaine or meth activate.”
With any addiction, the brain releases dopamine, which happens when someone experiences pleasure and creates a reward system for things like drugs, food, or social media.
TikTok challenges are also becoming a concern, as they can involve theft, vandalism, and damage of property.
Dr. Paulus said researchers are still studying the teenage brain to learn the long-term effects from social media addiction. He said addiction to social media may lead to more addictions.
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