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The Fentanyl Plague

California Youth Services also provides counseling for at-risk teens.
California Youth Services also provides counseling for at-risk teens.

In Orange County, a hidden crisis has been unfolding. Fentanyl, a lethal synthetic opioid, has been infiltrating the lives of the county's youth, causing alarm and distress among families and educators.

Jamie, like many teenagers, was navigating the complexities of adolescence, unaware of the dangers lurking in the shadows. Fentanyl, a drug far more powerful than heroin, was creeping into the community, often disguised and undetected, and easily available to teens via social media apps. Jamie’s encounter with this drug at a weekend party was a life-changing event. What she believed to be a harmless pill turned out to be laced with fentanyl, leading to a critical emergency room visit and a fight for her life.

This near-tragic incident, as well as other needless deaths from fentanyl poisoning, served as a catalyst for action within Orange County. Among those stepping forward was the San Juan Capistrano Rotary Club, known for its commitment to community service and youth programs. Recognizing the severity of the fentanyl crisis, they rallied their resources and influence to support the efforts against this growing threat.

SJC Rotary's involvement has been significant. Three of its members serve on the Board of Directors of California Youth Services (CYS), a key organization in the fight against youth drug abuse. Their positions allow them to bridge the gap between CYS and the broader community, facilitating support and collaboration.

CYS, renowned for its work with troubled youth, has intensified its efforts in response to the fentanyl crisis. Its Juvenile Alcohol and Drug Education (JADE) program, a cornerstone in its approach to substance abuse education and intervention, became a focal point in addressing the fentanyl issue. The program provided crucial education about the dangers of drug addiction and fentanyl, emphasizing the importance of making safe choices.

SJC Rotary's support for CYS and the JADE program is not limited to board involvement. The club also makes significant financial contributions, demonstrating their commitment to the cause. These donations are instrumental in enhancing the reach and impact of CYS's programs, including JADE, helping to educate more students and parents about the risks of fentanyl. CYS will be having their Gala fundraiser on May 4th at the Irvine Marriott. Their website will have details soon.

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