Things That Matter

A Third Latino Teen Has Died From a Fentanyl Overdose in SoCal in Less Than 2 Weeks

A 19-year-old Honduran named Alessandro Sunsin was found dead from a fentanyl overdose in his southern California home, making him the third teenager, and the fourth person under 30, to die of an overdose in the SoCal area in the last two weeks alone, reports Univision.

It’s currently unclear what prompted Sunsin to purchase the pills, or whether he was trying to manage symptoms of physical or mental illness. According to Sunsin’s aunt, Ingrid Castillo, his dealer told him “that he should take three of those pills to relax” and passed him a bottle of alcohol with his pills.

She continued, “He put them in a bottle of alcohol, his brother came and grabbed his mouth to get them out but he had already swallowed them.” Sunsin purchased the pills from a park in South Los Angeles that was near his house, as well as three schools in the area. His mother, Vivian Castillo, said, “My beautiful boy, my baby. He was everything to me because he was very affectionate and loving.”

Sunsin’s death marks another in a string of fentanyl overdoses in the southern California area, following the deaths of 15-year-old Melani Ramos, 14-year-old Luna Hinojosa, and 27-year-old Eli Rodríguez.

All the teens who either fell ill or died as a result of the pills bought them at parks near their homes and schools. In Rodríguez’s case, his mother thinks he died from a mixture of the pills and “something stronger.”

According to Metro World News, fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. A now-infamous image showing how much fentanyl would be considered a fatal dose shows the powder being dwarfed by a penny.

A recent press release from the Detox Center of LA confirms that fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for American adults.

“This is a national emergency. America’s young adults — thousands of unsuspecting Americans — are being poisoned,” said James Rauh, who lost his son to a fentanyl overdose and founded Families Against Fentanyl. “It is widely known that illicit fentanyl is driving the massive spike in drug-related deaths. A new approach to this catastrophe is needed.”

The only effective treatment for a fentanyl overdose is naloxone, an antidote that’s extremely effective against overdoses from heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, morphine, codeine, and more.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “naloxone is a drug that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist, that is, it binds to opioid receptors and reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with drug abuse, please contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national help line at 1-800-662-4357, or visit https://www.samhsa.gov.

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