May 7, 2024 - World

Anti-fentanyl campaign aims to reach Latino youths

Illustration of an aspiring tablet with a "no" sign over it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A nonprofit organization devoted to ending fentanyl overdose deaths today launched a new, bilingual campaign aimed at U.S. Latinos.

Why it matters: Studies show the rate of overdose deaths for Latinos almost tripled in the last decade, but few resources are modeled specifically for Latinos.

  • But there are still few services modeled specifically for Latinos, such as bilingual rehabilitation centers or programs that account for cultural factors like a stigma around discussing mental health.

How it works: La Nueva Drug Talk is an online platform aimed at facilitating how parents, tutors or teachers can broach the subject with Latino teens and young people.

  • It includes TikTok videos, prompts to talk about mental health, and practice scenarios to discuss drug use and overdoses among acquaintances.
  • There will also be in-person sessions — initially in California and Washington, D.C., and later in other places — including one Tuesday in a Pasadena coffee shop.
  • The campaign is by Song for Charlie, an organization focused on creating awareness about fentanyl-laced pills.

The tools were developed with input from an advisory team of physicians, drug policy experts and recent college graduates of various Latino origins.

  • Renee Cuevas, one of the recent college grads on the team, says it was key to make resources more readily available and approachable for both adults and people of her generation.
  • Cuevas points to the struggles many in her generation have navigated, such as educational disruptions and mental health impacts from the pandemic, as reasons why a program like this one is an important resource.
  • "We want this to be taken to the dinner table, to be talked about personally and realistically… it will take multiple conversations, but our hope is that we start things off and the info we've provided helps to make an impact."

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