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Drug Abuse Misinformation Is Dangerous

Six students overdosed on fentanyl during a Florida spring break trip, and several were hospitalized, including two on ventilators in critical condition. The students were football players at the Military Academy at West Point, and afterward the story was covered and passed around several major news outlets. Several stories included anecdotes alleging that some of the students who overdosed did so after attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on their fallen colleagues. But those appear to be exaggerated, according to Simon Taxel.

Taxel, a certified paramedic, addressed the Wilton Manors overdose story specifically. “Illicit fentanyl is extremely dangerous, but the hyperbole and misinformation that has become associated with it are also incredibly harmful. The published statements that two of the victims absorbed enough fentanyl to overdose while performing CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation are dubious and scientifically extremely unlikely.”

Taxel followed up, “Reporting like this has the potential to cause substantial harm. They increase the fear among both community members and professional rescuers. This fear and anxiety can cause both lay rescuers and first responders to hesitate and potentially delay lifesaving intervention. They also cause the erroneous use of resources like the deployment of hazardous materials teams to scenes where there is suspected fentanyl, when standard precautions like wearing exam gloves and hand washing are more than sufficient to protect everyone.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

There's no need to exaggerate the truth in order to warn people of danger. Discernment and facts should be the backbone of our decision-making process.

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