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County health department issues rare fentanyl warning to parents

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

Officials with the Los Angeles County Health Department issued a rare warning to parents about fentanyl after three local teenagers nearly died from overdoses.

The dealer reportedly called them ecstasy, but the counterfeit pills were contaminated with fentanyl and the LA County Health Department said the pills nearly killed three unsuspecting teenagers last week.

Officials at the health department issued a warning to local parents that read in part:

"The adolescents purchased blue circular tablets from an online dealer, who they reported arrived with a large bag of these pills, raising significant concerns for the possibility of ongoing overdoses in Los Angeles County."

Juli Shamash lost her son to a fentanyl overdose in 2018. CBSLA asked her if she thinks there is a genuine fear about the drug now.

Billboard put up by Juli Shamash to raise awareness about fentanyl among teenagers.

Shamash has placed billboards about the dangers of fentanyl in front of high schools on the west side to try and prevent other kids from taking even a tiny amount that could take their life.

"It's immensely sad and very frustrating that they're not getting the message, or maybe they're just kids and they think they're invincible," Shamash said.

Several private schools, including Buckley and Harvard Westlake wrote to parents as well, telling them the county's warning should be taken very seriously and their kids should be aware that taking any illicit drugs no comes with a high risk of fentanyl poisoning, and added that the Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that about 25% of all street drugs are laced with fentanyl.

"When they see that it's happening to everyone and anyone and it doesn't matter the color of your skin or what school you go to or what religion you are, I think they are starting to get scared, which is good. They need to be scared," Shamash said.

Officials with the DEA said that fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat that the country has ever faced.

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