TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Tuesday was National Fentanyl Awareness Day around the country. Experts around East Texas provided information on what to look out for and how to stay safe.
“Overdose is deadly,” said Harrison Ndetan, professor at the University of Texas at Tyler.
The DEA calls it “the greatest threat to Americans today”. You have probably heard the name before: fentanyl.
It’s a synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine and it’s everywhere.
Back in April, deputies in Van Zandt County made arrests after dealers allegedly supplied the drug to a 13-year-old overdose victim, who was hospitalized after the incident but survived.
Spencer Wright with East Texas Council for Alcohol and Drug Addiction said it only takes a little bit of the drug to possibly be lethal.
“It doesn’t take much at all,” said Wright. “If I can just get the information out there and let people know that this is being mixed in with meth, cocaine, crack cocaine and many other drugs.”
Ndetan said if you need medications, you should always get a prescription to ensure that it is safe.
“It’s important for people to take medication like opioids like these on prescription,” said Ndetan. “ When you start taking medication without a prescription and mix it with alcohol and narcotics like cocaine, you easily overdose.”
Wright also said being able to tell the difference between a pill with or without fentanyl in it is almost impossible unless you test for it. So how does this crisis get better?
Wright said educating your children about how dangerous the drug is can be critical.
“If we just let them know the dangers up front [and] give them the information,” he said. “ If they have the information, they can make informed decisions.”
Wright also added that people should continue to invest in mental health and find out why some continue to turn to drugs in the first place.