May 10 is National Fentanyl Awareness Day – Let’s Do Something Before More People Die
By Lynn Venhaus
Today, May 10, is National Fentanyl Awareness Day. The use of illegally-made fentanyl is fueling a national health crisis — it is an epidemic affecting all Americans, and we need to do more.
Sunday, many mothers were unable to mark their special day with their dear sons and daughters who lost their lives because of fentanyl. This is personal to so many of your friends, relatives and neighbors. It is a tragedy for families, ripped apart, ruined, broken.
More than 500,000 Americans have died from overdoses the past 20 years. Fentanyl is a factor in more half of overdose deaths. Less than 0.007% of an ounce of fentanyl causes certain death. Statistics indicate 42,700 fentanyl overdose deaths occurred in 2020.
Start with education — it is key. Fentanyl is a potent lab-made opioid, and a cheap and addictive filler getting added to illegally-made drugs at alarming rates.
People are using it unintentionally and dying from overdoses as a result. Even if you don’t use non-prescribed drugs, chances are that you know someone who has been impacted by the current crisis.
On this #NationalFentanylAwarenessDay, please learn more about the risks associated with fentanyl, and what you can do to prevent, recognize, and reverse overdoses.
From US Senator Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire:
“Granite Staters know all too well the devastating effects of the substance misuse epidemic, and as fentanyl continues to harm families and communities, we must keep raising awareness about this deadly substance. We are increasingly seeing fentanyl-laced drugs disguised as prescription drugs, which means that many Americans are unknowingly ingesting fentanyl with dire health consequences. Fentanyl Awareness Day is crucial to keeping people informed about these types of risks, and also to reduce the stigma to seeking help.
“I am heartened that addressing this crisis is not a partisan issue: I’ve worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to crack down on illegal drug trafficking of fentanyl and support those struggling with substance misuses. I will continue to work across the aisle to help communities stay safe in the face of this serious threat.”
Senator Hassan has led efforts to target illicit fentanyl trafficking, and the most recent annual defense bill included Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill with Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to hold accountable countries such as China that are facilitating America’s fentanyl-fueled opioid crisis. The Senator recently joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing legislation to implement new penalties for counterfeit pill production.
Write to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram to combat the rise of dangerous drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine disguised as prescription drugs.
We need to do more. We need to pressure lawmakers to do something. We must crack down on international drug trafficking and provide more resources to law enforcement to help stop the flow of illegal drugs into communities.
And if you need a Call to Action, watch the documentary “The Crime of the Century,” which is in two parts. First one is oxycontin, second one is fentanyl. Trailer:https://youtu.be/SkU75sBdjdU
More lives will be lost if people continue to look the other way.
Here are signs of overdoses:
Loss of consciousness
Unresponsive to outside stimulus
Awake, but unable to talk
Breathing is very slow and shallow, erratic, or has stopped
For lighter skinned people, the skin tone turns bluish purple, for darker skinned people, it turns grayish or ashen
Choking sounds, or a snore-like gurgling noise (sometimes called the “death rattle”)
Body is very limp
Face is very pale or clammy
Fingernails and lips turn blue or purplish black
Pulse (heartbeat) is slow, erratic, or not there at all
National help is also available at findtreatment.gov
Partnership to End Addiction: https://drugfree.org/get-support/
More information: https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html
Let’s help each other save some lives.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.