Red Ribbon Week is an opportunity to educate students and parents about drugs

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Monday, October 24 marked the start of Red Ribbon Week, a time to educate local youth about the dangers of drugs. Red Ribbon Week was launched in 1988, celebrating those who have overcome drug addiction and those who choose not to use drugs.

Sonya Robinson, Program Director for Family Councilsays that with the increase in fentanyl overdoses here in Kern County, they are working with local schools to help educate children about the dangers of the particular drug.

“Sometimes parents aren’t really aware that drugs are a problem for their child, so I think that just helps raise awareness for everyone,” Robinson said.

This Red Ribbon Week, Robinson says Action Family Counseling will set up information booths at select area schools where they will distribute pamphlets and educate students about fentanyl and other drugs.

Robinson says she’s also noticed an increase in people checking into rehab centers not knowing they had fentanyl in their systems. This happens because other street drugs are often cut with fentanyl.

“You test them and they all come back positive for fentanyl. It’s not another drug,” Robinson said. “They don’t even know what they’re taking is fentanyl.”

Robinson says our young people need to be educated about drugs before they are exposed to them in order to prevent addiction.

“They don’t even know how powerful the drug they’re playing with is,” Robinson said. “They think it’s something like Norco and they have no idea.”

Robinson says the scary thing about drugs like fentanyl is that most of the time people don’t know they’re addicted to them because they had no idea that the drugs they have consumed were cut with.

“They buy it on the street and they have no idea it’s fentanyl,” Robinson said. “People who think they’re addicted to Oxycontin or Percocet, they buy them on the street. They don’t know they’re fentanyl until they come in and get tested for drugs. That’s how they find out.

Robinson says fentanyl is by far the most abused drug in Kern County, and the situation is worsening due to the high level of fentanyl addiction.

“Drug dealers want to put it in everything because it keeps their customers coming back,” Robinson said.

She says more and more people are going to drug treatment centers because of the fentanyl crisis.

“It’s extremely difficult to self-detox,” Robinson said. “[People] get really sick, and on those very sick days often fall back into bad drinking behavior.

Action Family Counseling also works with local schools during Red Ribbon Week to help educate children and parents about the dangers of drugs.

“Schools called us for pamphlets, and we offered to do school assemblies to educate young people,” Robinson said. “And then we have the booth at Vista West this Thursday where they asked us to come over there and give education and information to the students.”

Red Ribbon Week runs until October 31.



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