Organizations, law enforcement focusing on youth outreach to fight fentanyl use
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Have you heard of Riverside High? No, it's not a new high school in the Wichita public schools district. It is a webcomic series by TeenView, an online magazine put out by the local mentoring organization YEEP.
Its goal is to teach teens about the dangers of the drug Fentanyl.
Jeremiah Olguin is a freshman at South High and writes for the mag. He says putting the information in comic form helps break down the topic. “If I show them this comic, and if I show them in a way that they can really connect to, I feel like they make a click in their head that kind of puts it all together."
Olguin says each year the students who run TeenView pick an overall topic to focus on and this year was Fentanyl. “There was a classmate of mine not too long ago that had an overdose at our school and it was at that moment when I felt like I really needed to reach out and really make a change."
The video comic series is just one avenue for YEEP to put out this information. Tuesday, a flag with its campaign phrase “Fight Fentanyl” was raised at the old Sedgwick county courthouse. The flag and videos are part of an effort by local law enforcement to increase teen education about the drug.
“We've been running April and May on Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and then some other streaming videos," Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter told KAKE. He says the content is targeted by using "geofencing, around all the middle schools and high schools here in Sedgwick County.”
Easter says that he believes a lot of the focus when it comes to Fentanyl is on what he calls reactive measures, like Narcan or test strips. He says this education campaign tries to be proactive.
“The approach is education. The approach is to tell people don't do this.”
Olguin says the group has had positive reactions to comic series but YEEP's outreach to other teens doesn’t stop there. “I actually carry a fight Fentanyl bracelet and people usually ask me about this whenever they first meet me, they ask, oh, what is this? And then this is always a great conversation starter for people to learn more about what we do."
The flag will fly at the historic courthouse downtown for the rest of the week.
To learn more about the "Fight Fentanyl" campaign, you can text "fight" to 54244 or click here.