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Just Say No 

by Ruth Ann Ruiz
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Editor’s Note: Fentanyl is a scourge that has impacted our community. Rather than ignore it, The Post Newspaper has chosen to contribute to making our readers aware of the lethal presence that has claimed numerous lives – both young and old – in Galveston County.

The following is the first of a series of stories that cover the challenges facing law enforcement, educators, and families. It is our prayer that you, our readers, will support us in overcoming this daunting danger.


Brandon C. Williams

Editor, The Post Newspaper

By Ruth Ann Ruiz

The Post Newspaper Features Editor

Do you remember Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign in the 1980s? It was a simplistic view to a complex problem. She had many people who mocked her approach. But right now, we need to move into a Just Say No mode.

Just Say No to using street drugs because right now the streets are filled with “poison,” as Galveston Chief of Police Doug Balli stated regarding the flood of fentanyl into the region.

Street drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine are being laced with another drug called fentanyl which can –and does– kill almost instantly with just a very small amount. 

“It’s a growing problem; it’s deadly and you don’t know that it is in what you are taking. That last high you try to get might be the last time you ingest anything,” said Galveston County Sherriff Henry Trochesset. 

“Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered. The drug Fentanyl is highly addictive and drug traffickers are increasingly mixing it with other types of drugs in powder and pill form in an effort to drive addiction and attract repeat buyers,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. 

Fentanyl is killing Americans! Fentanyl is killing people right here in Galveston County! Our law enforcement departments from the federal level, all the way to our local officials, are working together to track down the sources of distribution for arrest and prosecution. 

According to the CDC, 107,375 people in the US died of drug overdoses in 2021. The numbers they estimate that involved opioids/fentanyl were 75,673 of all the overdose deaths (70.4%). That was in 2021; the data for 2022 has not yet been made available. 

Fentanyl is becoming the leading cause of death for adults ages 18-45.

It’s going to take more than just law enforcement to save people. We all need to be aware of the dangers of fentanyl. 

Law enforcement is advising the public: do not touch suspicious looking bags with powder substance. Instead, call the police. In the Galveston County region, bags with panda bears stamped on them are dangerous and you should call 911 if you find one. 

If you are a parent or guardian or love someone who you suspect uses street drugs, don’t be afraid to look through their bags, drawers and/or secret hiding places. Look for white powder in plastic bags — and don’t let your loved one convince you that their powder is safe. 

Fentanyl can also be found in colored pills, which the DEA is warning are being used to attract younger users. No street drug is safe at this time!

Be on high alert because it only takes two milligrams of fentanyl for a potentially deadly dose. That’s about five grains of salt. That’s all it takes to kill a person with fentanyl. 

You can’t tell from looking at the street drug that your loved one may possess whether there are traces of the deadly fentanyl added.  You can’t tell from smelling the substance. This is why a Just Say No to drugs is a helpful approach to keeping people from an overdose.  

Just saying No is a great idea but for many who use opioids and other street drugs that message is going to be lost in their need/desire to escape reality with a temporary high. If you have a family member or friend who you suspect uses opioids, you can get a prescription for the antidote that is helping to save lives.

Narcan, also generically known as Naloxone is a medication that can treat a fentanyl overdose. Medical providers across the nation are prescribing the antidote to people who have loved ones who they suspect use opioids.  Many schools are now stocked with the antidote, so too are law enforcement agencies and paramedics. 

Naloxone is currently delivered through a nasal spray or an intermuscular injection. Check with your medical provider and pharmacy for what type of device will be available to you. Even if Naloxone is used, it is imperative to call 911 for further medical assistance. 

If you overdose you won’t be able to use Naloxone on yourself! 

Naloxone needs to be administered by someone other than the person who has overdosed. Therefore, it is being advised that people who have loved ones who use opioids should speak with their medical providers for a prescription of the antidote to an opioid overdose. 

Symptoms of someone who has overdosed on an opioid are stupor, changes in pupillary size, cold and clammy skin, cyanosis (which is a bluish color in the skin, lips, and nail beds), coma, and respiratory failure. Call 911 for someone who you suspect has overdosed and if you are prepared with the antidote be ready to use it. 

For now, the antidote is only available via a prescription but there are companies working to develop an over-the-counter product which will be available without a doctor’s prescription. 

Just Say No to allowing your loved one to die of this nasty phenomenon that is taking down the lives of unsuspected street drug users. Be ready with the antidote and be ready to take any suspicious white powder or other drugs into your local law enforcement agency. 

 If possible, get your loved one to Just Say No to using drugs. 

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