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Great Falls library hosts 'Fentanyl Awareness Day'

Posted at 11:21 AM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 14:30:22-04

A fentanyl education workshop was held at the Great Falls Public Library to mark Fentanyl Awareness Day, dedicated to bringing attention to the threat of fake pills and the lives that have been lost.

Fake pills and fentanyl have altered the drug landscape in an unprecedented way, driving the recent increase in overdose deaths.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin, and is most commonly used to make fake pills disguised as oxycontin, percocet, and xanax.

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50, surpassing heart disease and cancer.

Lela Graham, director of the Independence Rock Coalition for Ethics Recovery and Social Justice, said, "We need to make sure that we're aware that it's pervasive and it's out there and it's indiscriminate. I'm a survivor of fentanyl poisoning, and I've got a little over seven years of recovery. And I just want to share that there's hope in recovery."

A Drug Enforcement Administration lab test found that 7 out of 10 pills tested contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.

The DEA website states: "Last year, over 70,000 Americans fatally overdosed on illegally made fentanyl. Fentanyl is now found in fake pills and many street drugs, but users are often unaware that their drugs contain the potent opioid. This is an urgent public health crisis that puts all of us, and our loved ones, at risk. We all must play a role in preventing further tragedies."

Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, and is available over the counter.

It is recommended to be prepared, carry naloxone, and talk to your loved ones about the risks of encountering illicitly manufactured fentanyl.