WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is recognizing its first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.
The DEA is recognizing the day in “an effort to educate individuals around the dangerous threat that fentanyl poses to the safety, health, and national security of the American people.”
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram released a video announcement to mark National Fentanyl Awareness Day.
“Fentanyl is killing Americans at unprecedented rates,” Milgram said. “On this first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day, please help save lives by making sure you talk with your friends and family about the dangers of this deadly drug.”
According to the DEA, Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
The DEA states Fentanyl is inexpensive, widely available, and highly addictive. That is why drug traffickers are increasingly mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs — in powder and pill form — to drive addiction and create repeat customers.
According to the DEA, many people who are overdosing and dying don’t even know that they are taking fentanyl.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the United States, nearly 107,000 people died as the result of a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending November 2021. Sixty-six percent of overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
“We’ve seen a spike, we know it out on the streets as well between the police department and us, we are seizing a lot of pills that we haven’t seen around here before, and this is just happening in the last two months. So, that tells us that we have a to coming in and then we’re also making a lot of overdose calls,” Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said.
For more information on the dangers of fentanyl, visit www.DEA.gov/fentanylawareness.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a National Helpline that is free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. The number is 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You can also visit the online treatment locator if you are looking for help in person.