Through the dark web, tech-savvy teenagers are able to purchase dangerous drugs, including a synthetic drug that is 50 times more dangerous than street heroin: fentanyl. If you suspect your child is using drugs, you need to know about fentanyl and take steps to keep them alive and out of the courts.
What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic drug introduced in Belgium more than 50 years ago. The drug is one of multiple medications used for anesthesia. The World Health Organization considers it essential for healthcare. Only recently has illicit use of the drug spiked, possibly due to how easy it is to access on the dark web.
In 2016, fentanyl contributed to more than 20,000 overdose deaths in the U.S., including the death of Prince (and later, in 2018, Tom Petty).
Drug sellers have been known to mix fentanyl with heroin or cocaine and fail to inform buyers of the more-lethal drug they have purchased. Similarly, drug distributors often prey on addicts to become distributors within the United States. A problem with addiction can quickly spiral to become complicity in drug trafficking (a very serious charge).
How can children and young adults obtain fentanyl?
On the dark web, a part of the Internet only accessible through Tor and other identity-blocking software, individuals are able to keep their identities relatively anonymous. Users can find marketplaces to purchase drugs and other illegal goods.
Gone are the days when 16-year-old drug-seekers have to meet narcotics sellers in dark, seedy locations. Now, they can purchase drugs in the comfort of their own homes, knowing full well their parents don't know enough to catch them.
What can parents do?
Educate yourselves and them. Read up on fentanyl and other drugs. Talk to your children about the dangers of synthetic drugs. Even if your children are still young, learn the options they have for accessing drugs. Communicate with their teachers and school administrators so you know whether they are facing peer pressure to do drugs.
If you suspect they are doing drugs, pay close attention to their internet use and the packages they receive. Understand the signs and symptoms of fentanyl and other synthetic drug abuse, including:
- Unexplained euphoria
- Confusion or dizziness
- Constipation, nausea and vomiting
If your child faces arrest for fentanyl possession, seek out the help of a lawyer who is experienced with fentanyl defense and shows concern for your child's future. There are options to help your child overcome any addiction and rehabilitate away from drug abuse.