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DEA Agent Explains the Dangers of Fentanyl

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DEA Agent Explains the Dangers of Fentanyl

DEA Agent Explains the Dangers of Fentanyl

The Prep4Ward program at Avon Old Farms is as innovative as it is instrumental in the development of all Avonians. This year, the program is split into two parts: character development and health & wellness. 

As part of the health & wellness aspect of the program, students were visited by David Lanzoni, head of the Connecticut and western Massachusetts division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He spoke to students about what he sees and knows about illicit fentanyl in our state and our country including where it comes from, how and why it is made, where it is found, and, of course, the incredible dangers that go along with it. 

He first spoke to underclassmen two weeks ago, and returned to campus on Monday to speak to senior and postgraduate students. He made it clear that his presentation wasn’t going to be the usual “say no to drugs” lecture. Instead, he laid out the hard facts about fentanyl, and how scary of a situation it has created in our country. 

“It’s a dangerous, dangerous substance,” Lanzoni said. 

In fact, Lanzoni said, fentanyl overdoses are now the leading cause of death for people aged 18–42 in this country, surpassing cardiac arrest, suicide, and motor vehicle accidents.

“I’m not sure if that scares you, but it definitely scares me.”

He explained to students that there are several reasons why the drug is so deadly. For one, fentanyl can enter the system in any way including ingesting, inhaling, and can even be absorbed through the skin. 

It is also more deadly than other drugs because it is entirely chemically produced. Whereas other drugs like cocaine or heroin are harvested from plants, fentanyl is nothing but a concoction of chemicals. This also means that while other drugs have a growing season, fentanyl can be mass produced at any time during the year. 

Probably the scariest aspect of fentanyl is that it can be disguised to look like anything—even candy. 

Lanzoni answered several questions from students that had gathered in the Brown Auditorium on Monday, including what Narcan is used for and what to do if someone is overdosing. He said education about this topic is extremely important. 

“It’s really all about awareness. That’s why I’m here,” Lanzoni said. 

For more information about this year’s Prep4Ward program, visit the academia section of the school website.