Letters to the Editor: Victims don’t ‘overdose’ on fentanyl. They’re poisoned

A student sits next to a memorial on steps
A student sits near a memorial at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood on Sept. 16 for a 15-year-old who died after taking a drug containing fentanyl.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Referring to 15-year-old Melanie Ramos’ death at her high school as a drug overdose is following a pattern of reporting that is completely inaccurate. (“Teen girl dead from fentanyl-laced pills at Hollywood school is latest in rash of student overdoses,” Sept. 14)

The epidemic of fentanyl deaths does not typically involve overdoses. These students and countless others who buy one pill that is laced with fentanyl are dying by poisoning. These are cases of homicide, not drug overdoses.

Let us put the blame where it clearly belongs, not on the victim who may have died due to one simple mistake.


Anne Roberts, Santa Monica


To the editor: How can we help our kids realize the dangers of even a single use of a recreational drug that may contain fentanyl?

We need some experienced Hollywood writers, producers, directors and actors to develop a short, realistic movie detailing the facts. It needs interviews with survivors and parents and siblings of teens killed by these drugs. Interview friends of deceased teens.

This movie needs to be shown every year and updated regularly. We need to pay influencers to talk briefly about the dangers of drugs. Teens need to understand they can’t tell by looking at a pill or by taking a friend’s say-so that the drug is “safe.”

Parents, teachers and police telling kids of the dangers should be limited, as kids don’t trust them. Peer support groups may be a good idea.

Obviously, what we’re doing is inadequate. Stopping the supply of fentanyl is important, but stopping the potential user from buying the product is better.


Suzanne Brugman, La Habra Heights