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What You Need To Know Today: Teen Fentanyl Crisis, Wage Theft Violations, Heatwave Cools Off

A vending machine is filled with pink and white boxes of a medication that reads "Narcan." Just above a number pad on the machine, a digital readout says "Free."
LAUSD is rolling out 600 units of Narcan school police patrolling junior and senior high schools in response to an "epidemic" of fentanyl overdoses.
(Scott Olson
Getty Images)
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Today in How To LA: Navigating the teen fentanyl crisis, wage theft in Long Beach; plus cooler weather up ahead

There’s a very real problem happening all over the country: more teens are dying from drug overdoses. Researchers have pointed out it’s now reached a crisis point in Los Angeles and the biggest culprit is the rise of the synthetic opioid fentanyl

Earlier this month, a 15-year-old girl was found dead in a school campus bathroom at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood. Three other teens were sickened that same night. It's suspected the students thought they were buying Percocet pills when it turns out…the pills were laced with fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. In response, the Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced the district will distribute Narcan to schools starting in October. Narcan, or naloxone, can reverse the effects of an overdose if used shortly after symptoms start.

The number of teens, aged 14 to 18, who died from an overdose doubled in 2020. That number increased even more in 2021 to 1,150 teen deaths. According to Joseph Friedman, a UCLA researcher and lead author of a report that was published earlier this year in JAMA, that spike was the greatest increase in teen overdose deaths in recorded history. In the last two years in California, 400 teens died from drug overdoses. But here’s what really gets me: Friedman says the rate of teen drug use has actually fallen. It’s just gotten gotten a lot more dangerous, largely because of the spread of counterfeit pills.

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For more information about this epidemic and some guidance on how to talk to the kids in your lives about it, listen to today’s How To LA podcast. Host Brian De Los Santos covers it all with Friedman and other guests. Take a listen here.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

The News You Need After You Stop Hitting Snooze

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

  • For all of you who are tired of this latest heatwave, you may be glad to hear it’s coming to an endThe weather should begin to cool off today and continue into the weekend, giving us a fresh start to October.
  • The Los Angeles Unified School District has reached a deal with the Teachers Union over the so-called “acceleration days” designated to help struggling students catch up. The tentative deal still allows for the extra days, but they will now take place during school breaks. 
  • “Gangsta’s Paradise” rapper Coolio has died at age 59. He grew up in Compton and, as the New York Times writes, helped “define hip-hop in the 1990s” and add to the West Coast sound. (New York Times)
  • A year into a law designed to protect renters from landlord harassment has “failed its purpose.” More than 2000 harassment claims have been filed but no one has been taken to court; a majority of the cases have been resolved by the city. 
  • For all you who plan to hit the road this weekend, something you should keep in mind is that closures for the91 Freeway Refreshare still in effect. A portion of the 101 in the San Fernando Valley will also be closed while workers demolish a pedestrian bridge. 
  • Two home care agencies in Long Beach have been ordered to pay nearly $2 million dollars in wage theft violations to more than 60 employees, a majority of then Filipino.  
  • The Orange County Museum of Art is celebrating 60 years by opening its brand new building to the public - and its free! On Oct. 8 the museum kicks things off with food and festivities and will be open for 24 hours.
  • In what’s being described as “historic,” Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills that would allow vacant or underutilized commercial buildings to be used for housing. (The Los Angeles Times
  • Those inflation relief payments Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a few months ago should be on their way starting Oct. 7. Eligible residents may receive up to $1,050, dependent on income, filing status, and number of dependents. (The Sacramento Bee)

Wait! One More Thing...It's National Coffee Day!

An illustration of a coffee mug, spoon and a flower on a white background. On the mug is the worlds "Eastside, Downtown" on a banner above a Mexican plaza-style kiosk.
(Arantza Peña Popo

You know one thing I can’t live without? It’s coffee. I desperately need to have my morning joe before I start working for the day. I have three favorite coffee-flavored drinks: Starbucks’ Iced Apple Crisp Oat Milk Macchiato, Tierra Mia’s Iced Horchata Latte and Hilltop’s Pistachio Latte. Did you know that THIS is the day to celebrate our immense love of coffee? 

Not too long ago we asked you about your favorite coffee shops and you delivered! Maybe check out to see if they have deals for you on this special day.

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McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream partnered with Go Get ‘Em Tiger to offer you the Coffee Tonic Float. You’ll have to pay almost $10 to get that float, but here’s some places that may have free coffee for you today. Check out some other dine and drinks deals in LAist’s and Christine Ziemba’s weekly roundup of fun events and activities.

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