Arizona resource wants parents talking to kids about risks of fentanyl

Jul 15, 2021, 4:25 AM | Updated: May 11, 2023, 12:18 pm

(AP Photo)...

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – KTAR’s Community Spotlight this month focuses on, a resource dedicated to educating and helping communities prevent substance abuse in youths, with a recent emphasis on deadly counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl.

Last year in Arizona, 63 teenagers died from overdosing on the counterfeit pills known as M30, Merilee Fowler, executive director of MATFORCE, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“A lot of times young people might think they’re taking Xanax or oxycodone or Percocet. They don’t realize the danger … that one pill can kill,” said Fowler, who is based in Yavapai County.

What makes the counterfeit pills so dangerous is that they often are mixed with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine.

One of the more alarming discoveries Fowler and the group made was that young people are making deals for the pills through social media.

“We had cases where, through Snapchat or Instagram, in a bedroom that their parents think the child is safe and they’re in contact with a drug dealer and are getting a hold of these pills,” she said.

There is plenty parents can do to keep their children safe from harmful drugs, Fowler said.

“No. 1, we need to talk to our children about never taking a pill that’s not prescribed to them. … We need parents to be the parent and not just a friend. Monitor their texts and social media multiple times a week.”

Parents and other caregivers can learn how to start the conversation about fentanyl abuse at’s website.

Guidance is also available at the Arizona Opioid Assistance Referral line at 1-888-688-4222.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Phoenix Police...

Nick Borgia

Phoenix police successfully complete Operation Full Court Press to reduce crime

Phoenix police announced the completion of Operation Full Court Press, a five-day initiative focused on reducing crime.

59 minutes ago

A large fire burns...

Weekend Wrap-Up: Here are the biggest Phoenix news stories from May 17-19

From a standoff in Surprise to a fire burning across Tonto National Forest, here are some of the biggest news stories from the weekend.

3 hours ago

State Route 87 closure...

State Route 87 southbound lanes reopen near Fort McDowell Road

The southbound/westbound lanes of State Route 87 reopened near Fort McDowell Road, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

6 hours ago

Marriott and Westin hotels are collaborating on a new hotel in Phoenix that is expected to be open ...

Bailey Leasure

Marriott, Westin collaborate on dual-branded hotel coming to Phoenix

Marriott and Westin hotels are collaborating on a new hotel in Phoenix that is expected to be open by late 2025.

7 hours ago

File photo of Phoenix police SUVs parked in front of a metal utility pole. A suspect was arrested A...

Man arrested after allegedly assaulting Phoenix police during apprehension

A man was arrested after Phoenix police officers intervened in a physical fight on Saturday, authorities said.

11 hours ago

Scottsdale Fire Department was among the groups assisting with "Wildcat Fire" containment over the ...

Cave Creek Ranger District closed in wake of ‘Wildcat Fire’ containment efforts

The Tonto National Forest issued a monthlong closure of the Cave Creek Ranger District as crews continue to fight the "Wildcat Fire."

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Arizona resource wants parents talking to kids about risks of fentanyl