VOLUME XV, ISSUE XXV National Fentanyl Awareness Day 2022!

The Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (IDHS/SUPR) is promoting the first ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day, to be held on May 10, 2022.

Illicit fentanyl has killed thousands of people in Illinois. The illicit drug supply is contaminated with fentanyl and many people have overdosed without knowing that they had ingested fentanyl instead of other substances. Fentanyl is 50x stronger than heroin and nearly impossible to detect because it's odorless and tasteless. It has been implicated in fatal and nonfatal overdoses for both people who have been using drugs for years and naïve drug users. It has been found in a variety of illicit drugs sold as heroin, cocaine, and others, and in counterfeit pills sold as extasy, oxytocin, Xanax, and others.

Harm reduction strategies in addition to awareness and education, include increasing access to fentanyl testing strips to test opioid and non-opioid illicit drugs and naloxone, the medication used to reverse an opioid overdose.

National Fentanyl Awareness Day is being organized by Song for Charlie, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about counterfeit pills, and dozens of other national and local parent groups, community organizations, and businesses. It is being promoted by a variety of federal agencies. The goal for this day is to raise awareness about the growing public health crisis around fentanyl and to focus the nation's attention on this issue.

Your organization or school is encouraged to sign up at National Fentanyl Awareness Day as a partner for National Fentanyl Awareness Day as well as promote IDHS/SUPR's public awareness campaign, A Dose of Truth. The more we share available information regarding fentanyl, more people will become aware of this drug and its potential lethality. Thank you for helping to publicize National Fentanyl Awareness Day in your communities. Your efforts are saving lives and helping make communities safer and healthier.

Learn more about fentanyl, what drugs are being laced with fentanyl, and why it's causing people to accidentally overdose at A Dose of Truth. For information on accessing naloxone free of charge (Access Narcan) please visit the IDHS webpage at Drug Overdose Prevention Program. For more information on fentanyl, visit Drug Enforcement Administration, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).