Festivals and Fenatnyl: How to Stay Safe This Spring Break

Beyond Wonderland 2024
Beyond Wonderland 2024
Lainey Park

In recent times, overdoses have become a commonality in our culture and, according to the CDC, are the leading cause of death among people aged 18-45. ⅔ of these deaths have been attributed to fentanyl, a highly lethal opioid that you’ve probably heard of if you’ve been reading the news lately. With festival season swiftly approaching, overdose cases are likely to spike, and now, with a recent surge of fentanyl cases, safety is at the forefront of concerns. To ensure a safe and fun spring break, regardless of your plans, practicing safety and knowing the signs of an overdose is important. 

Countdown 2023 (Lainey Park)

As mentioned previously, fentanyl is a high-strength synthetic opioid, 50 times stronger than morphine, that has made its way into the drug supply and almost every form of street drug available. Fentanyl is now commonly used by dealers to enhance the potency of the drugs and save money by using this cheaper alternative. Pill-form drugs are an extremely popular form of stimulants. They are the favorite choice for festival goers and spring breakers alike, meaning their chances of receiving a batch with fentanyl are significantly higher. Due to the heightened chances of overdoses, it is pertinent to be alert and aware of the possibility of an overdose and how to handle it if it does occur. 

Preventative measures such as fentanyl test strips are a great way to keep yourself and others safe while putting your worries and fears at ease. These tests are inexpensive, highly accessible, and only take a few minutes. Being able to recognize the signs of an overdose is extremely important, and being able to jump to action is even more crucial. Signs of an overdose include pinpoint pupils, cold and clammy skin, loss of consciousness, discolored lips or nails, and a limp body. After assessing the state of someone, if there is an indication that they could be experiencing an overdose, immediately call 911. From there, administer naloxone, a nasal spray that reverses overdoses, and continue to keep the person awake and breathing, laying them onto their side if needed to avoid choking. 

Accidental overdoses have been steadily increasing each year in LA County and have become a growing problem that has made its way outside of the party scene. Since the leading cause of death amongst younger age groups is overdoses, colleges have begun to incorporate preventative measures to prepare for anything and everything. Narcan, like naloxone, can be found on any MSJC campus in the form of nasal spray alongside staff and faculty who have undergone training on how to administer life-saving solutions. According to Health Services, Narcan has been present on campus for approximately one year, and luckily, within that time, it has not been administered once. If you have any further inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact Health services for more information about Narcan administration and signs of an overdose. 

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Countdown 2023 (Lainey Park)

Overdoses can happen to anyone at any time and anywhere. Knowing the signs of an overdose, using testing strips, and carrying Narcan can make the difference in saving someone’s life in a matter of minutes. Even if this information doesn’t seem pertinent to you or even applicable, it is better to know something than nothing when facing a potentially fatal situation. No matter what your plans are this spring break, remember to stay safe and look out for others, especially your friends, as you never know what could happen and how quickly everything can change in a few minutes. 

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