The US Drug Enforcement Administration officially observes August 21, 2022, as National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day.
On this day, the second annual day of observation, City of Charlotte leaders, Mecklenburg County, and the Federal Government along with CMPD came together to raise awareness about the effects of fentanyl in the communities.
According to DEA, fentanyl is the single deadliest drug danger our country has ever faced. A deadly dose of fentanyl is only two milligrams, which is the size of the tip of a pencil.
In a press conference, CMPD stated about 30 kilos of suspected fentanyl have been found so far in 2023 by the CMPD’s VICE Unit, which is enough to kill 15 million people.
“No one should take a pill that’s not prescribed and picked up from a pharmacy,” said CMPD Major Luke Sell. “Counterfeit pills are often made with fentanyl. So, when a person takes a pill, thinking they are taking a safe medication, they could end up overdosing and dying.”
Fentanyl has the capacity to kill 500,000 people in one kilogram. More than 84,000 alleged fentanyl tablets have also been confiscated by VICE.
Overdose deaths are becoming more frequent, police said. CMPD reports, the department recorded 134 fatal overdoses in 2018 overall. CMPD has recorded 137 fatal overdoses so far in 2023, which is an increase of 20% from this point in 2022.
“Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are very potent drugs that can quickly lead to cardiac arrest and death when ingested, inhaled, or injected,” said Dr. Christine Murphy, a toxicologist and emergency medicine physician with Atrium Health. “We have seen many patients who believed they were using drugs such as cocaine and marijuana but have stopped breathing and suffered a life-threatening event because fentanyl has been mixed with the drugs they used, without their knowledge.”
CMPD has responded to approximately 1,000 overdose calls for service so far this year, the department reports. They encourage families to remain alert while also being upfront and honest about drug usage.
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