A rising drug crisis; how families can discuss the dangers

KEYC News Now at 6 Recording
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 6:16 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - In lieu of the recent arrests connected to the overdoses of three juveniles, concern rises among parents on how to talk to their children about drugs and how to access Narcan.

“As we can see from these kids, it only takes seconds for somebody to overdose on this stuff and become unresponsive,” said Chad Ruch, Commander of Minnesota River Valley Task Force.

The Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force says the opioid crisis is rising along Blue Earth County. One harsh reminder happened the week of Jan. 30, in which three adults were arrested in connection to the overdoses of three teenagers.

The drug task force seized nearly 400 M30 pills, among other drugs and two firearms in the arrests.

“These pills are what is driving the crisis. It’s so easy for these kids to get a hold of it, and people who are taking them don’t understand what they are since they’re pressed or counterfeit,” explained Ruch.

SJ: “One thing that people don’t really realize is that there’s fentanyl in a lot of other street drugs right now besides heroin and besides the counterfeit Oxycontin pills, so just being aware of that and being cautious,” said Stephanie Jordan, Alcohol and Drug Counselor with Christian Family Solutions.

Experts say now is the time to start a conversation with children.

“I think it’s just important for parents or guardians to have the talk with their kids, to make them understand how strong and deadly these are,” said Ruch.

Mankato’s Christian Family Solutions says that talking with children about drugs may be a difficult conversation to start, but it could end up saving their life. An easy way to start a conversation could be about mental health concerns, peer pressure, and emotional coping habits.

“As early as we can start these conversations with kiddos and with teenagers, the less awkward that they’re going to be as they get older and their exposure to those substances in the community is going to be,” explained Katelyn Bolte, Child and Adolescent Service Program Manager, Christian Family Solutions.

Experts say warning signs could be drastic changes in behavior and physicality, depending on the person.

“You notice that they’re spending more time isolating, increased restlessness or extreme fatigue or lethargy- those could be signs that there’s a mental health concern or that there could be substance use,” said Bolte.

But experts encourage parents to keep checking in on their children. Also, Christian Family Solutions offers free naloxone training every second and fourth Monday of the month and attendees can receive a free overdose prevention kit. And anyone can walk in at anytime to pick up Narcan for free, with no questions asked.

“What I’ve been hearing is that people feel a lot more prepared and more comfortable to respond to those situations, if they were to come up, after being trained,” said Jacobs.