PITTSBURG, Kans. — Students at an area university are trying to stop the damage done to families from the use of a deadly drug. Fentanyl overdoses now account for the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.

So five graduate students from the P.S.U. Communications Department are asking for area parents with children between the ages of 13 and 21 to fill out a questionnaire regarding that drug. Tre Meyers is one of those grad students and says the goal is to find out how much parents know about the drug and effectively communicate its danger to their kids.

“Fentanyl has been one of the biggest growing problems in the United States. Products will get embedded or disguised as other drugs, it’s really affecting the adolescents in the community and the United States as a whole, just last year in 2021 about 77% of adolescents has had some sort of affiliation to the overdose of Fentanyl,” said Meyers.

Parents are often targeted by ads to talk with their kids about dangerous drugs like fentanyl but aren’t given the background and information on the medication to have an educated conversation with them. Trying to find out how much they know about fentanyl and how kids can get their hands on it is among the purposes of the questionnaire.

“So we’re looking at the different types of family communication patterns, family dynamics to see how many people are known about using fentanyl or how many people discuss the use of drugs like Fentanyl at the dinner table,” Meyers said.

The study consists of two parts, the first of which is an online questionnaire, followed by a fifteen-minute zoom interview. All the information is kept confidential and participants can remain anonymous if they’d like.

For more information about the study, or to participate, you can email commlab@pittstate.edu.