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There has been a recent surge of fatal overdoses due to people using drugs they were unaware contained the powerful opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than heroin.

According to a memorandum from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), in Spring of 2022 there were… “At least 7 confirmed mass overdose events across the U.S. resulting in 58 overdoses and 29 overdose deaths. Many of the victims of these mass overdose events thought they were ingesting cocaine and had no idea that they were in fact ingesting fentanyl.”

Along with cocaine, other drugs that have been found to contain Fentanyl are heroin, MDMA (molly/ecstasy), and counterfeit prescription drugs, like Percocet and Oxycodone, and even non-opioids such as Adderall and Xanax.

To be clear, these prescription drugs containing fentanyl are fake. They are not provided by pharmacies or made by legitimate drug manufacturers. They are made in clandestine labs by dealers and sold to users under false pretenses.

How to be safer:

  • Consuming fentanyl is dangerous, but know that fentanyl will not be absorbed through your skin. If you believe you may be in the presence of fentanyl, proceed with caution to avoid accidental consumption.
  • The most effective way to avoid unknowingly consuming fentanyl is to not use any prescription drugs that aren’t prescribed to you, and to not use any illicit drugs.
  • If you are (or someone you know is) a person who uses drugs, consider testing your drugs using fentanyl testing strips. They can be purchased through the following organizations:
    • DanceSafe - $1.19 - $2.09 per strip, depending on amount purchased
    • DoseTest - $1.25 per unit
    • BunkPolice - $1.99 per unit - $149.99 for 100 strips
Fentanyl test strips were recently removed from the category of "criminalized drug paraphernalia" under West Virginia law. You can read more about the bill on the WV's legislature website here.

*More information on fentanyl can be found at the National Institute on Drug Abuse

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