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Those lost to overdoses to be honored with National Fentanyl Awareness Day

KPTV
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Published: May. 10, 2022 at 10:23 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The DEA will honor those lost to fentanyl-related overdoses with the first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day as deaths continue to spike.

In an effort to save lives, the Drug Enforcement Administration says it will proudly join “Song for Charlie” and many other valued public health, non-profit, and law enforcement partners to recognize the inaugural National Fentanyl Awareness Day.

The DEA noted that the day is meant to educate residents about the dangerous threats fentanyl poses to safety, health and national security.

To mark National Fentanyl Awareness Day, the DEA said it released a video announcement from Administrator Anne Milgram to stress the dangers and need for urgent action.

“Fentanyl is killing Americans at unprecedented rates,” said Milgram. “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.”

The DEA said fentanyl is a synthetic opioid about 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. The drug is cheap, widely available and highly addictive. It said drug traffickers have increasingly mixed fentanyl with other illicit drugs - in pill or powder form - to drive addiction and create repeat customers.

The Administration noted that many who overdose and die do not even know they had taken fentanyl.

The DEA said its St. Louis Division seized about 180 kilograms - nearly 400 pounds - of fentanyl in Fiscal Year 2021. That is about as much as the previous two years combined. It said the division includes Missouri, Kansas and southern Illinois.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated about 107,000 people have died as a result of a drug overdose between November 2020 and 2021. It said 66% of those overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

The DEA said it has created a special exhibit in its museum, The Faces of Fentanyl, to commemorate the lives lost from fentanyl poisoning. To submit a photo of a loved one lost to fentanyl, residents can submit their name and photo to fentanylawareness@dea.gov or post a photo and their name to social media with the hashtag #NationalFentanylAwarenessDay.

For more information about the dangers of fentanyl, click HERE.

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