Song for Charlie > For Teens & Young Adults

How to Get Started

Open All


Fentanyl is now involved in more youth drug deaths than any other drug. Learn how the drug landscape has changed in recent years and why drug use, even is more dangerous than ever before.

Get the Facts

Fentanyl Basics

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is commonly used in medical settings. But drug traffickers also sell illicitly-made fentanyl all across the US, and it is being found in just about every street drug being sold today.

Watch Fentanyl Basics Video

What to Do

Healthy Ways to Cope

In a perfect world we could live stress free; but, unfortunately today most teenagers and young adults are experiencing extreme amounts of stress.

The effects of stress are, well, stressful themselves. Unfortunately this creates an endless cycle that teens and young adults aren’t yet ready to handle. We have developed two pathways of healthy coping skills. Skills over Pills and Pharm over Pharma. Click the links before to learn more.

Skill over Pills™

Farm over Pharma™

Reach Out To:

NEED HELP? Everybody needs help from time to time. If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, if you’re unable to sleep or enjoy life, or if you’re turning to alcohol or drugs to cope with stress, it’s time to ask for help.

Your university’s mental health services

Call 1-800-662-HELP

Contact a doctor or therapist


Call 1-800-273-8255

741741 and 988

     Signs of
An Opioid

An overdose is usually not a dramatic event and recognizing the signs of opioid overdose is essential to saving lives. Call 911 immediately if a person exhibits ANY of the following symptoms (according to CDC):


Small, constricted ’pinpoint pupils”


Slow, shallow breathing


Falling asleep or lack of consciousness


Choking or gurgling noises


Body goes limp


Pale, blue, or cold skin

Responding to an Opioid Overdose

Time is critical when someone is experiencing an opioid overdose. If a person experiencing an overdose stops breathing, they can die within a matter of minutes. If you think someone is overdosing, administer naloxone if you have it, and call 911 immediately. Do not leave the person alone.


Quickly getting help for a person experiencing an opioid overdose can be a matter of life and death. To encourage people to call for help, almost all states have Good Samaritan Laws in place to protect callers reporting an overdose. Understand the laws in your state, and if ever in doubt, CALL FOR HELP. In the event of an overdose, timely response is critical.


Student Assemblies

Student assemblies can be an impactful way to ensure all of your students are informed of the dangers of the fake prescription pills they can easily get online, and to get them talking about this danger with their peers. If possible, we recommend finding someone who has been impacted by fake pills firsthand to talk to your students… affected parents or siblings, DEA agents, law enforcement, counselors, etc. If you are looking for someone local to your area contact, and we may be able to help. If you don’t have a local person’s testimony, you can still have a powerful student assembly by using one of the below impact stories and the centerpiece of your assembly.

Suggested agenda for student assembly:

  • Today’s Drug Landscape- Presentation by local affected family member or law enforcement personnel to summarize what is going on with fake pills made of fentanyl being sold on social media. Resources for drug landscape presentation can be found here.
  • How to report drug dealers on social media
  • Mental Health/School Counseling- Mental Health and Coping Update
  • Q&As

The topics of drug use and drug deaths can be triggering to some people. We encourage schools to have counselors on hand in case any students are in need of counselors after the presentation.

Following is an example of a high school presentation:

Community Conversations/Town Halls

We recommend that schools and other organizations also host community conversations or town hall meetings to educate students, parents, and other community members about the changes in the drug landscape and the risks today’s youth are facing. As with the student assemblies, we recommend trying to have a speaker who has first-hand experience with fake prescription pills if possible. Town halls can be conducted in person, but we also have seen many communities have wide-reaching success with zoom events. Choose whichever approach you think will work best for your community.

  • Today’s Drug Landscape – Presentation by local affected family member or law enforcement personnel to summarize what is going on with fake pills made of fentanyl being sold on social media. Resources for drug landscape presentation can be found here.
  • How to report drug dealers on social media
  • Mental Health/School Counseling- Mental Health and Coping Update
  • Q&As

Organizations may also want to provide parents training on the social media apps their kids are using and how to monitor their kids. Depending on timing, this may be best if presented in a separate forum.

Sample Community Conversations:

Educate Classroom Teachers, Coaches & Administrators

Social Media Campaign


We encourage schools to display posters/flyers around the school and/or send them home in parent newsletters. Song for Charlie offers free posters/flyers/stickers, digital and for print, for anyone to use.

Posters made by students are also – students talking to students in their own language is one of the most effective ways to get through to school aged-kids.

Student-led Activities

Students talking to students about the dangers of fentanyl might be the most impactful method of getting this message across. Students in districts across the nation have taken action to raise awareness in their communities in the following ways:

  • Redwood Bark, the Redwood High School (Larkspur, CA) student newspaper, featured a story “One pill can kill: Addiction, loss, and fentnayl” by Taylor Elliott and Keely Ganong. The article shared the stories of Trevor Leopold and Alex Movahedi, two former Redwood students who died of fentanyl poisoning.

  • The student government class at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom, CA listened to the testimony of parents who lost their son Zachary to fentanyl and planned an awareness campaign that included lawn signs, t-thirts, and more. Their campaign was featured on their local evening news.

  • Students at Whitney High School (Rocklin, CA) interviewed parents of young fentanyl victims for broadcasting class.

  • Students in many schools have created posters & yard signs to raise awareness. Post in bathroom stalls, hallways, school parking lots… wherever there are teens who need to know!

  • We’re Fighting Fake Pills, an article in Scholastic Choices Magazine, features three youth who are spreading awareness in their communities.

  • A group of students wrote a play for their drama club to perform.

The possibilities are endless. Talk to your student leadership or other student groups to ask what they would do to raise awareness!


Kids like swag, and they can be a good reminder of the important messages kids learn. If you would like some Song for Charlie wristbands to hand out to students at your school, contact at least 4 weeks before the event, and we will do our best to provide you some wristbands.

Free Song for Charlie Resources

These free resources are available to people wanting to educate their young adult communities about fentanyl and other synthetic drugs found in today’s illicit drug supply.
Note: These resources are free as long as Song for Charlie is being identified as the source and they are not included in programs being sold. Click here for detailed terms of use.

Song for Charlie Facts About Fentanyl

Song for Charlie Posters & Flyers

Song for Charlie Sample Presentation to Students/Resources

Content can be freely pulled from Song for Charlie’s social media accounts and used on your own social media sites:

Video Resources:

Misc College Level Awareness Ideas

  • Implement a Team Awareness Combatting Overdose (TACO) chapter at your school.
  • Have pop-up naloxone distribution centers.
  • Provide overdose reversal kits to students.
  • Create overdose reversal kits with naloxone and place them in central places around campus (similar to defibrillators & fire extinguishers).
  • Put fentanyl/fake pill posters around campus- in dorms, on back of bathroom stall doors, in student center, at sports complexes, etc.
  • If health center distributes prescriptions, include fake pill warning with every prescription dispensed. 
  • Make fake pill awareness (via flyer, video, etc) required for anyone receiving mental health help through student health center.  
  • Install naloxone vending machines (as done at the Ann Arbor District Library by
  • Consider making naloxone and fentanyl test strips available at student centers, requiring students to watch an informational video to receive items. 
  • Consider fentanyl test strip pop-ups with training & discussion.
  • Have greek system create an awareness campaign.
  • Include fentanyl awareness training as a part of freshman orientation.
  • Make fentanyl awareness, naloxone & FTS training a part of all residential assistant (RA) training. 

Have RA’s show “You Need to Know” video to all students on their floor, and lead discussion.

Social Media Campaign

We encourage everyone to post warnings across their social media accounts.


Social media content is available for free at:


Content can be freely pulled from Song for Charlie’s social media accounts and used on your own social media sites:

The Problem


May be behind paywall:

Fentanyl’s Ubiquity Inflames America’s Drug Crisis (WSJ, September 2022)

7th LAUSD teen overdoses from possible fentanyl-laced pills (LA Times, Sept 2022)

Fentanyl Tainted Pills Bought on Social Media Cause Youth Drug Deaths to Soar (NYT, May 2022)

A Note About Harm Reduction

Data show that many youth are unaware of or misunderstand the fentanyl problem. Accurate perception of harm has been shown to be a protective factor. Therefore, Song for Charlie believes greater education and awareness of the fentanyl problem for youth in particular will reduce harm.

Song for Charlie recognizes that one-size-fits-all approaches often aren’t optimal. Some of the content in this particular toolkit may not fit with policies and practices of organizations serving younger audiences.

The goal of harm reduction is to protect the health and lives of people, even if they choose to use substances. Song for Charlie focuses on protecting the health and lives of young people from the risks associated with illicit drug use especially in today’s synthetic and deceptive landscape, where harm reduction has been shown to play a valuable role.

It is not unusual for colleges and universities to offer both harm reduction messages (i.e. limiting binge drinking) and harm reduction interventions (i.e. naloxone and fentanyl test strip distribution). Given little available evidence around the effectiveness and interplay between primary prevention education and specific harm reduction interventions for younger ages where illicit substance use is less common than in the general population, we do not promote many harm reduction interventions for K-12 ages. However, we recognize that illicit drug use is more common in college age youth, as are individual agency and decision making capabilities. Therefore, we include more harm reduction messages and interventions for this age group.