Dare County recognizes Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day on August 21

Dare County Department of Health & Human Services.

In an effort to spread awareness regarding the dangers of illicit fentanyl, the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services (DCDHHS) and Saving Lives Task Force (SLTF) join families, communities and organizations across the country in observance of National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day on August 21, 2023.

Led by the not-for-profit collaborative of grassroots fentanyl awareness groups called Facing Fentanyl, the day of observance was established in remembrance of those lost to illicit fentanyl poisoning as well as to educate and warn the public about the nationwide fentanyl crisis.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Anne Milgram has called fentanyl “the single deadliest drug threat our country has ever encountered” and added that “no community is safe from the presence of fentanyl.”

During 2021, illicit fentanyl poisoning was responsible for more than 100,000 deaths in the United States and is now the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18 to 45 – claiming more lives than suicide, gun violence and car accidents.

One hundred times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, illicit fentanyl is prevalent in communities across the country, is easy to obtain and is often mixed with other drugs to increase potency. It is also being used to make fake prescription pills that are being advertised on social media sites as Percocet, Xanax, Adderall and other medications.

DCDHHS Health Education and Outreach Manager and SLTF co-chair Roxana Ballinger emphasized the importance of fentanyl awareness in the community. “Our team is committed to not only educating the community about the dangers of fentanyl, but also to ensuring access to the harm reduction tools that prevent overdose and save lives,” Ballinger said.

DCDHHS, in conjunction with the Saving Lives Task Force and other community leaders, continues to work to address the fentanyl crisis locally through education and awareness.

Most recently, the department launched its “Fentanyl Kills” mass public awareness campaign and is seeking to partner with local businesses, agencies and restaurants interested in increasing community awareness on the issue.

Participating organizations can sign up to receive “Fentanyl Kills” materials and supplies such as posters, stickers, pens and bar napkins that share important messages about the dangers of fentanyl. DCDHHS can also provide businesses and community members with lifesaving tools such as fentanyl test strips and naloxone.

For more information on the Fentanyl Kills campaign or harm reduction in Dare County, email recoveryservices@darenc.gov or call  252-475-5719.