Fentanyl on the Rise Amid Coronavirus Pandemic


HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — Hermosa Seaside resident and swimmer Ana Fradkin can usually be discovered at an outside pool in El Segundo. Swimming provides her peace of thoughts, so-much-so she makes in into the pool earlier than daybreak about 5 instances every week.

“I’m a butterflier, and a freestyler. However now I’m a nothing, I’m a survivor who simply swims”, stated Fradkin.

Fradkin is doing the whole lot she will be able to to outlive in the present day, as a result of in August, she misplaced her 14-year-old son Scotty to an unintentional drug overdose.


What You Want To Know

  • Fentanyl is turning into extra prevalent in L.A. County
  • In 2013, fentanyl was present in solely 3% of drug-caused deaths
  • Throughout the first two months of 2020, fentanyl appeared in additional than 42% of those deaths, and the determine climbed to 51% in March and April
  • 14-year-old Scotty Hemstreet died of an unintentional drug overdose in August believed to be attributable to fentanyl disguised as Xanax

The tragedy has uprooted her world, alongside together with her husband and youthful daughter Juliet. Fradkin says her son started struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He began a steep downhill when the shutdown occurred. He completed summer season faculty and 4 days later, he was gone,” she stated.

Previous to the shutdown, Scotty had a psychological well being prognosis, however his mom believes he was getting higher. In accordance with Fradkin, Scotty was pleased at college, loved sports activities, and was making progress in group remedy.

However when the shutdown occurred, the whole lot was canceled and Scotty regressed. Fradkin feels if it wasn’t for the shutdown, her son could be right here in the present day.

“He’s collateral injury and as a lot a sufferer of this pandemic as anybody with COVID,” she stated.

The investigation and reason for Scotty’s dying are nonetheless ongoing, however authorities imagine the trigger could possibly be the drug fentanyl, disguised as Xanax. Scotty had beforehand requested his mother about taking anti-anxiety treatment like Xanax, however he was not prescribed.

“I think there was a sense that simply because one thing is on the market to some individuals by prescription, how harmful can it’s,” stated Fradkin.

However Fentanyl is turning into extra prevalent in L.A. County. In 2013, fentanyl was present in solely three p.c of drug-caused deaths.
By 2019, that quantity jumped to a couple of third. A brand new spike was reached in 2020 with 42% within the first two months and 51% firstly of the stay-at-home order in March.

With a rising drawback, Venice Household Clinic Physician Gilmore Chung is apprehensive the present pandemic is making it worse.

“From the start, we had been apprehensive about a rise within the variety of sufferers utilizing, the variety of sufferers overdosing, individuals on the whole being extra remoted,” stated Chung.

Fradkin stated Scotty struggled with the isolation, and that it could have pushed him to search out what he thought was anti-anxiety treatment. Sadly, he might have gotten greater than he bargained for.

With fentanyl being 50 – 100 instances stronger than morphine, the Venice Household Clinic gives entry to check strips to see what precisely is in a drug.

“Some medicine are mislabeled. Somebody thinks they’re getting a benzodiazepine, perhaps they assume that they’re simply getting heroin, however they’re truly getting fentanyl,” stated Chung. “We’re capable of present them with take a look at strips in order that they’ll truly take a look at the drug to know, ‘what am I truly taking?'”

The rise of opioids is partially resulting from aggressive advertising by pharmaceutical firms like OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, who plead responsible to federal legal costs in October for its position in creating the nation’s opioid disaster.

Purdue may even pay greater than $8 billion in a settlement that may go in direction of funding packages to assist fend off opioid addictions.

One like community-wide coalition, The Seaside Cities Partnership for Youth within the South Bay, the place Scotty was from. This system is managed by Director Ali Steward.

“We all know that it’s an issue occurring throughout the nation, it’s occurring right here, and what can we do to work collectively to deal with it,” stated Steward.

The coalition has introduced collectively key prevention companions throughout 12 completely different sectors, like legislation enforcement, faculty district reps, and companies to deliver the opioid dialog out within the open.

A digital presentation titled “Prescription Medication and Opioids: What Seaside Cities College students and Mother and father Have to Know” was proven in November, and is likely one of the methods they’re getting the phrase out.

“This isn’t one thing fleeting. That is one thing we wish to proceed speaking about, proceed elevating consciousness about, and taking motion,” stated Steward.

For Fradkin, she is going to keep in mind her son Scotty as loving, sensible, and humorous; a lover of the ocean and crusing. He wasn’t a drug person, however his mom noticed how the shutdown impacted his psychological well being, and she or he’ll always remember how one mistake price her son his life.

“I miss him on daily basis, and I don’t know the way I’m going to have the ability to proceed this manner for the remainder of my life,” stated Fradkin.



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