A Belmont-based memorial foundation established in the memory of a Carlmont High School senior who died of a fentanyl overdose last year is hosting a free community event May 4 to spread awareness about the risks of buying drugs online.
The Colin Walker Memorial Foundation was founded after the death of Colin Walker to fund adolescent substance abuse prevention and mental health programs. It's sponsoring an information session called "Drugs in the Age of Fentanyl" in cooperation with Song for Charlie and One Life Counseling Center.
Walker, 17, died Aug. 29 after taking a drug that was laced with fentanyl, according to the foundation website, which states it hopes to help spare other families the pain of losing a child to this deadly national crisis. Walker apparently bought the deadly pill on the social media app Snapchat.
Fentanyl has certainly become common in the Bay Area and nationwide. On Saturday law enforcement officials announced that nearly 100 pounds of illicit fentanyl had recently been recovered by Alameda County Sheriff's detectives and the Alameda County Narcotics Task Force.
The 92.5 pounds (42,000 grams) of the drug was seized from locations in Oakland and Hayward.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illicitly manufactured fentanyl is sold illegally for its heroin-like effects and is often combined with heroin and/or cocaine to increase euphoria. Users often don't know fentanyl has been combined with other drugs.
It has become such a problem that there is now a national day to raise awareness. A broad coalition of nonprofit organizations, major corporations, government agencies and schools -- including Google, Snap, Meta, the Ad Council, Shatterproof and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America -- announced last week that it is launching the first National Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 10. The event is designed to raise awareness about illicit fentanyl in fake pills and street drugs. According to a press release, fentanyl-involved deaths are fastest growing among 14- to 23-year-olds.
According to the CDC, most of the recent cases of harm, overdose and death due to fentanyl are linked to the illicit form of the drug.
The May 4 event is scheduled to take place from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at the Carlmont Performing Arts Center in Belmont. Visit Eventbrite to register.