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Fentanyl Awareness Day: May 7th

A potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.
A potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.

The Drug Enforcement Agency is joining “Song for Charlie” and many of their law enforcement, public health, and non-profit partners in recognizing National Fentanyl Awareness Day.

May 7th represents an important opportunity to honor those that have been lost to fentanyl poisonings by educating others about the deadly threat of the synthetic opioid.

To commemorate the first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day two years ago, the DEA Museum opened the Faces of Fentanyl exhibit at their Headquarters.

The memorial wall now features more than 5,000 photos of Americans lost to the fentanyl crisis.

The Faces of Fentanyl exhibit serves as an illustration of the deadliest drug threat our nation has ever faced.

In 2022 alone, almost 108,000 Americans died from drug poisonings; 70% of those deaths were caused by fentanyl and synthetic opioids.

According to a press release from the DEA Fentanyl remains the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18-45.

Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator Anne Milgram said, “Americans today are experiencing the most devastating drug crisis in our nation’s history. This is because one drug – fentanyl – has transformed the criminal landscape. The DEA is working to stop two Mexico based cartels – Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels – responsible for American deaths. All Americans across the U.S., coast to coast, and every community in between have been harmed by fentanyl. Today, we honor the Americans whose lives we lost and call upon all Americans to raise public awareness. We must also reach more people faster through public awareness and education efforts.”

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Just two milligrams—the equivalent of a few grains of salt—is a potentially lethal dose.

The Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels are hiding fentanyl in fake pills that look like prescription medications, such as oxycodone, Xanax, and Percocet. The cartels are also mixing fentanyl powder into other drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Many of the people poisoned by fentanyl had no idea they were taking it.

Shantar Baxter Clinton is the hourly News Reporter for KSFR. He’s earned an Associates of the Arts from Bard College at Simons Rock and a Bachelors in journalism with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine.