Talk to your grandchildren about fentanyl

Published 12:00 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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Marie Garceau
Guest columnist

Most grandparents have a role in shaping the lives of their grandchildren, positively influencing their lives. Part of this may involve speaking about drugs, peer pressure, and the increasing dangers surrounding fentanyl.

Drug education and prevention remain the best approach to helping people avoid the pitfalls of drug use. Resources like the Seniors’ Guide to Fentanyl and local drug education in Virginia are crucial because they help fill the void with factual information.

The best approaches begin with a conversation, and there are practical approaches that anyone can use. When speaking to your grandchildren about drugs and peer pressure, keep things age-appropriate and use language that is easy for a child or teen to understand. There are different ways to discuss the topic depending on their age.

When speaking to teens or young adults, ask open-ended questions like: What do you know about fentanyl? Or What are your thoughts on drug use? Are you concerned about someone offering you drugs?

This can help start a conversation and fill the void with factual information about fentanyl and its risks.

Share personal experiences and examples of peer pressure and how it was managed. While the approaches to peer pressure are much different today because of social media, the practical methods of handling or avoiding it can still be applied.

Teens can often experience significant peer pressure online through their social media platforms. Social media also glorifies drug and alcohol use.

Please encourage them to speak to their parents or caregivers and help them create a trusting environment with the people they live with. Get them to ask questions and voice their opinions, as this becomes the best way to share ideas and gain knowledge.

Illegally made fentanyl comes in many different forms. The powdered version is mixed with cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. It is also made into pills that mimic common prescription pain medication.

Counterfeit pills are sold on social media platforms. Dealers use code words and emojis to advertise products, often targeting young people. In 2020, an average of four Virginians died of an opioid overdose daily. There were over 1,400 overdose deaths that year, a 17% increase from 2019.

The conversations you have now with your grandkids make a real difference. Practical information can help them make informed and responsible decisions, potentially avoiding dangerous situations involving illegal drugs and peer pressure. As a grandparent, you can stay knowledgeable about the risks.

Marie Garceau is a Lunenburg resident and has been working in the field of substance use and addiction recovery for over a decade. Her primary focus is to reach out to the community and spread awareness. She does this to educate others about the dangers of drug use and help them make informed decisions. She can be reached at