PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Local law enforcement and public health officials are calling the fentanyl issue among teens an “overdose epidemic.”

On Thursday night, some of those officials, led by State Representative Janelle Bynum, gathered in Happy Valley for a town hall, talking about ways people can protect their loved ones and children from fentanyl overdoses.

“The way these are made, you have no idea what’s in there,” said County Medical Director Andrew Suchocki.

Authorities say if you get ahold of a pill that didn’t come from a pharmacist, it’s almost guaranteed to be laced with fentanyl, a highly lethal drug. Even one pill could prove to be fatal.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Captain Marcus Wold says in 2021 there were more overdose deaths than fatal car crashes. He got choked up talking about a recent drug bust where authorities seized 150,000 fentanyl pills.

“There’s no second chance,” Wold said.

Parents in the audience asked what they can do to keep the deadly drug out of the hands of teenagers. One mom said she talked to her kids about fentanyl-laced pills last weekend before they went to the prom.

“I literally had a conversation with the kids we dropped off. Take no pills, I don’t care if they tell you it’s an asprin,” the mother said.

Wold says when it comes to teens, the message from parents and caregivers needs to be clear.

“This is not a recreational drug. This is something that can kill you on your very first try,” Wold said.