Factors Associated With Indirect Exposure to and Knowledge of Fentanyl Among Youth

Jennifer I. Manuel, Daniel Baslock, Tania DeBarros, Teresa Halliday, Pam Pietruszewski, Alexandra Plante, J'Neal Woods Razaa, William Sloyer, Victoria Stanhope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Using data from an online assessment of youth in the United States, this study examined factors associated with youth's indirect exposure to fentanyl; factors related to youth's level of knowledge of fentanyl; and sources of substance use information obtained by youth. Methods: This is a secondary analysis of data from a cross-sectional online assessment of youth ages 13 to 18 in the United States in 2022. Participants self-reported on substance use knowledge and concerns, indirect exposure to substance use, access to substance use information and resources, the extent to which youth discussed drug use harms with someone, and COVID-related stress. Results: Analyses revealed that most youth did not have knowledge of fentanyl even though they reported indirect likely exposure to fentanyl. Youth concerned about alcohol or drug use in their own life were less likely to have knowledge of fentanyl and more likely to know someone who, if using drugs, would likely be exposed to fentanyl. A significant risk factor of indirect likely exposure to fentanyl was COVID-related stress. Prevalent sources of information included the internet, social media, friends or peers, and school classes. Discussion: While youth may have close proximity to fentanyl exposure and a degree of understanding of fentanyl, there is a general lack of knowledge of the substance, a critical gap that future substance use prevention initiatives could fill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-319
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Fentanyl
  • Opioids
  • Substance use
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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