LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) — To raise awareness of the dangers of fentanyl, the Alcohol Drug and Abuse Council of Deep East Texas (ADAC) hosted a fentanyl awareness luncheon with community members on Tuesday to educate East Texans about the drug.
“Fentanyl tells you to stop breathing… so, you’re conscious. You know it’s going on, but you cannot catch that breath. You cannot tell your body to suck in the air,” said Kristen Henley, Hudson ISD Police Officer.
Henley added that the fentanyl crisis has arrived in East Texas. She believes the drug is coming from other countries.
Fentanyl is deadly outside of a professional medical setting and addictive. Experts say it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and commonly mixed with and made to look like common medication.
“It’s coming from other countries. It’s being brought in by plane, by mail it’s coming through our U.S. postal service,” said Henley.
The problem is many people aren’t aware of what to look out for when it comes to this lethal drug.
“Our goal is to get as many people aware of the problem so that they know what they can do to be part of the solution,” said Kim Simmons, ADAC Director of Prevention.
People from throughout Angelina County attended the event to learn ways to combat the fentanyl crisis.
“Including judges, probation department, school partners, community members, people from the chamber,” said Simmons.
Henley explained that you never know what fentanyl can be in or on.
“A 10-month-old baby at Airbnb died from exposure. You know at an Airbnb, like as parents you think your kid’s going to be okay. But you don’t know who just stayed there,” said Henley.
Narcan has become more widely available. Large cities, like Las Vegas, even have vending machines with Narcan.
“Narcan which you can get it here at ADAC and then you can get a prescription for it so your caregivers,” said Henley.
While medicine exists to reverse the effects of fentanyl, prevention in the first place is key. It starts with a conversation as a community so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.