The explosion of the deadly synthetic opioid Fentanyl, onto the street drug scene has created a crisis all over America and Wichita has not been an exception.
Nobody knows that better than the high school students who have seen their friends die of overdoses in record numbers or who have themselves been poisoned by the drug that now pollutes almost 100% of all drugs sold on the street and packs a lethal dose 60% of the time.
For the high schoolers who attend Yeep Training Center and produce TeenView Magazine, combating the crisis through journalism has been their mission the last 9 months.
On Saturday, they will be showcasing the work they have done and partnering with law enforcement agencies to increase awareness of the danger with a Fight Fentanyl Festival at Towne West Mall.
The event partners their Fight Fentanyl movement with the Drug Enforcement Agency’s “One Pill Can Kill” effort to provide a wealth of information on how to recognize drug dealers, how to spot an addict, how to recognize signs of an overdose and more.
In the spirit of “Festival” the Saturday event will feature free T-Shirts, wrist bands, movie theater popcorn, cotton candy, cupcakes and more from 2 to 3:45 p.m.
At 4 p.m. the Boulevard Theaters at Towne West will show the movie, “Riverside High, Year One,” produced by the students of Yeep Training Center. The movie showcases their year’s work raising fentanyl awareness through monthly centerpiece productions that follow the story of a fictional high school, the struggles its students face and the trials of a newcomer “Zabrena” who comes to the school with issues and baggage from her old school and has to learn to fit in.
It includes a party, a drug dealer, kids trying to self-medicate their problems and – of course – a Fentanyl overdose.
“The kids all know it is fiction. After all, they made it all up,” said Yeep Training Center leader, Marquis Murphy. “But we got cooperation from Wesley Hospital at Derby, complete with ambulance, first responders, doctors and nurses. The young lady who plays the main character said even though she knew it was fake and nobody was really hurt, it felt all too real.”
Murphy said the movie is made from the photos and story line that printed in the magazine over the last nine issues and was produced as a slideshow with voiceover to tell the story.
Murphy said Yeep Training Center has been operating out of a local church but is moving in May to a new location in Towne West Center where they can expand their audio studio, photo capabilities and have space to grow.
A tour of the new location will also be offered during the Saturday event.