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To effectively tackle the risks associated with the fentanyl epidemic, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the facts.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that is stronger than morphine, and it can be found in a number of different substances such as heroin, meth, cocaine, and pressed pills.

As a slow-release patch, fentanyl can be prescribed to people with long-term, severe pain. The illegally used fentanyl most often associated with recent overdoses is made in labs and referred to as “street fentanyl.” It is swallowed, smoked, snorted, or injected. Both are very dangerous and when not used correctly. Even a small amount can cause an overdose and death.

Actions You Can Take Right Now:

  • Develop Your Safety Plan, and display your safety plan where it is easily seen or accessible and give your safety plan to people you trust will use it.
  • Learn more about Naloxone, a medication used to reverse an opioid overdose.
  • Families with children and teens are encouraged to explore our SAFE Choices program, which has valuable connections and youth prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery resources for parents, guardians, and caretakers.

What 3 Grieving Dads Want You to Know About America’s Fentanyl Crisis

There is a massive education gap around this issue, and it is important to not only share our stories, but also to share the facts about fentanyl that can better inform all of us, especially the precious young people in all our lives.

Fentanyl and its Impact on the Addiction Crisis

The recent increased supply of street fentanyl is exacerbating the opioid epidemic, which has grown since the onset of COVID-19. From August to September 2021, the DEA seized 1.8 million counterfeit pills and arrested more than 800 suspected drug traffickers. Illegal drug labs produce street fentanyl, and it may be mixed with other substances without anyone knowing. Street fentanyl is often hard to detect because you cannot see, smell or taste it. Fentanyl is so strong that there is a fine line between a dose that will get you high and a dose that can kill you. Fentanyl is overtaking heroin as the drug responsible for the most overdose fatalities.

Fentanyl and Our Youth

In recent years, there has been an uptick in fentanyl-related incidents among youth and young adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the age group of 15-34 has witnessed a significant increase in fentanyl-related deaths, underscoring the urgent need for awareness and preventive measures. The ease of access to illicitly manufactured fentanyl has contributed to its widespread use among this demographic.

In today’s digital age, social media platforms have become an easy outlet for teens seeking to purchase drugs. The anonymity and convenience offered by these platforms provide a covert space for illicit transactions. Peer pressure and the desire for social acceptance can drive teenagers to explore these online avenues, inadvertently exposing them to the dangerous world of substance abuse. Parents, educators, and community leaders must foster open dialogues, emphasizing the importance of making informed, responsible choices in an increasingly interconnected digital landscape.


In the News

Fentanyl Test Strips: What They Are & How to Use Them

Fentanyl Test Strips can identify the presence of fentanyl in unregulated drugs and can test injectable drugs, powders, and pills. There is not a tool available for finding Fentanyl Test Strips in specific areas, but some Harm Reduction Agencies or Health Departments have them available.

Know What to Do If You
Witness An Overdose

Every 15 minutes, a person dies from an accidental opioid overdose. Do you know the signs of an overdose and what to do if you witness one? Witnessing an overdose is not something anyone should have to go through, but everyone should be prepared and have naloxone on hand.

Have a Safety Plan

Having a safety plan can help reverse the silence on the addiction epidemic. As a harm reduction tool, SAFE Project’s downloadable Safety Plan with tips can help individuals who use drugs prevent overdose. Display your safety plan where it is easily seen or accessible and give your safety plan to people you trust will use it.

Dispose of Unused Medication

The importance of at-home drug disposal cannot be overstated. Unused or expired medications lingering in household cabinets pose a significant risk of falling into the wrong hands, whether accidentally or intentionally. By disposing of medications safely and promptly at home, individuals contribute to a safer environment and help prevent potential use. Many communities offer convenient methods, such as drug take-back programs or disposal kits, making it easier than ever to rid homes of these potential hazards. Embracing responsible drug disposal practices not only safeguards families from unintended consequences but also contributes to a collective effort to curb the opioid epidemic and protect our communities from the devastating impact of substance use disorder.

Additional SAFE Project Resources