The Student Newspaper of Oxford Academy

The Gamut

The Gamut

The Gamut

The opioid overdose epidemic calls for stricter fentanyl regulations

Isabella Sanchez

On October 19, 2022, DEA agents seized approximately 12,000 pills of fentanyl, a potent synthetic drug, at the LAX airport — all hidden in “Skittles”, “Whoppers”, and “SweetTarts” boxes. With Halloween just around the corner, the unregulated spread of opioid usage poses a major concern for youth in the U.S.

Opioids were responsible for 9,000 youth deaths between 1999 and 2018, of which fentanyl is involved in the majority. The problem is only growing; the Orange County community has seen a continuous upward trend in fentanyl abuse, seeing 555 deaths within the last year alone. Fentanyl’s relatively low cost makes it more attractive to users, which only increases the likelihood of youth accessing the drug. 

Presently, Orange County is a part of “Fentanyl is Forever,” a public campaign designed to spread awareness throughout the county and state. However, there are no apparent signs of drug decrease or evidence of the campaign’s success. Several counties that had implemented the campaign, including Ventura County and Santa Barbara County, saw no change in the trend of fentanyl abuse. 

Melanie’s Law, a litigation to stop fentanyl overdose and abuse in middle and high schools across the state of California, was passed by Governor Newsom on Oct. 13, 2023. Named in honor of Melanie Ramos, a 15-year old girl who died by a fentanyl overdose, the litigation aims to spread awareness and information about fentanyl and opioid prevention to students, educators, and families. The law aims to counteract fentanyl’s fatal impacts by training educators about the dangers of fentanyl while also providing schools with life-saving opioid medication. Melanie’s Law serves as a stepping stone to solving the fentanyl crisis in California. 

The fentanyl crisis will only worsen in the United States if necessary measures are not taken to curb overdoses of the potent substance. Thus, in order to protect youth from the detrimental effects of fentanyl and the lasting impact it may have, the federal government  must strengthen current legal enforcements. The U.S. has certain statutes and litigations that send any person caught importing, dealing, or administering fentanyl without prescription to jail for several years. However, this is not a permanent solution to the ongoing fentanyl crisis at hand; it only introduces a cyclical dealing of illegal opioids in the nation. To effectively deal with the issue regarding fentanyl, more clear laws must be enforced to restrict access to fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a drug that can harm adults and children alike. Such overdose of opioids could lead to disastrous consequences, and only due to the state and the county’s failure to uphold satisfactory and necessary litigations. The only solution is for the county to implement legal change to limit and regulate fentanyl access.

About the Contributors
Audrey Lee, Staff Writer
Audrey Lee is a freshman joining the Gamut as a staff writer. She joined Gamut with a love for literature, wanting to experience what it is like being a student journalist. She is also very excited about Gamut events like Secret Santa and the OCJEA competition. One of her favorite pastimes is reading, with Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand as one of her favorite books of all time. She is also passionate about volleyball and has even earned a spot on the Oxford Varsity volleyball team. Despite being one of the youngest members on the team, she feels like there is no barrier between her and her upperclassmen teammates; something that she loves about this team is that they are all very encouraging and they let her know that she can make an impact in the team regardless of her age. Besides practicing volleyball or reading, Audrey tends to be active in the OASIS club and hopes to join more clubs this school year.
Celine Park, Staff Writer
Celine is a freshman staff writer and is eager to learn more about the world through participating in the Gamut. Encouraged by the Mrs. Galvan to join the paper, it’s no secret Celine is a terrific writer, and she even plans to pursue journalism to some capacity in the future. Furthermore, she is a diehard fan of Taylor Swift and has been ever since 3rd grade. And, of course, Celine went to the Eras tour, thoroughly enjoying it to the point she started sobbing. Although Celine has a great taste in music, she also has pretty controversial and (objectively, if you will) bad takes, despising both pickles and dark chocolate. As for her bucket list, she hopes to befriend everyone in her grade (Class of ‘27 is not ready for her.) and, of course, take a photo with Taylor Swift.
Isabella Sanchez, Staff Artist
Isabella Sanchez is a sophomore illustrator embarking on the beginning of her Gamut journey. An avid artist who enjoys drawing and animation, she’s excited to express writers’ ideas through art. Serving on the board of OA Spotlight, she’s continuously exploring her creative side. Taking this artistic aptitude to another level, Isabella enjoys crocheting stuffed animals and playing guitar. Reflecting her strong talents, her Pinterest feed features architecture, art, and crochet. If given the ability to create her dream room, it would be one filled with bookshelves and pops of yellow — her favorite color! And it perfectly suits her warm, bubbly personality. Isabella dreams of traveling the world someday and going even further above and beyond as an astronaut. Involved in Robotics, she’s taken an interest in engineering. Armed with her beloved Doc Martens, Isabella is ready for a year filled with new adventures.