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  • National Fentanyl Awareness Day

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    The United States Senate has designated May 10th as National Fentanyl Awareness Day to spread awareness of the drug’s dangers. 

    Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that doctors use to treat severe pain. In recent years, drug traffickers have been illegally manufacturing fentanyl and adding it to a variety of street drugs. This trend has caused a record-breaking rise in overdose deaths. 

    Dangers Of Fentanyl 

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Just two milligrams of fentanyl (about the size of two grains of sand) can cause a fatal overdose. 

    Common signs of a fentanyl overdose include:

    • drowsiness
    • dizziness
    • choking or gurgling sounds
    • nausea and vomiting
    • slowed or stopped breathing
    • slowed heart rate
    • cold, clammy, or bluish skin
    • bluish lips and/or nails
    • smaller pupils
    • limp body
    • loss of consciousness

    In the 12-month period that ended in October 2021, over 105,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, the highest number ever recorded. Nearly 69,000 of these deaths involved Fentanyl. 

    Also, in the 12-month period that ended in April 2021, fentanyl was the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.

    Fentanyl-Laced Street Drugs

    Many people overdose on fentanyl without even realizing they have ingested the drug. 

    That’s because some drug dealers secretly add fentanyl to drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and MDMA. They do this to give buyers a stronger high and to reduce production costs (as fentanyl is relatively cheap to manufacture).

    Some drug dealers also add fentanyl to pills and pass them off as popular prescription drugs like Xanax and Percocet. 

    Almost 40 percent of street pills seized by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) contain potentially lethal amounts of fentanyl. The number of seized pills containing fentanyl has risen over 500 percent since 2019. 

    Teens & Young Adults At Risk

    Fentanyl-laced pills are often sold to teenagers and young adults on social media. This is probably why deaths involving fentanyl are rising the fastest among Americans ages 14 to 23. 

    In fact, fentanyl contributes to more drug-related deaths among American youth than methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and prescription drugs combined. 

    How To Participate In National Fentanyl Awareness Day

    Most people don’t know how strong fentanyl is or how frequently it’s added to other drugs. That’s why spreading awareness is so important. 

    Anyone can take part in National Fentanyl Awareness Day by discussing the dangers of fentanyl with friends and family. You can also share information about the drug on social media using the hashtags #NationalFentanylAwarenessDay and #JustSayKNOW. 

    To learn more about National Fentanyl Awareness Day, visit the movement’s official website.

    If you or someone you love struggles with substance abuse, please contact an Ark Behavioral Health specialist. We offer a variety of evidence-based addiction treatment services, including medical detox, mental health counseling, and support groups.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2021 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
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