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Learn more about Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, like heroin or morphine, but 50 - 100 times stronger. It is a prescription pain killer used to treat severe pain, especially after surgery.​

​Some people like the high they get from fentanyl and other opiates. This often leads to addiction and demand for illegal heroin or stolen prescription drugs (OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, etc.).

Fentanyl deaths

Fentanyl-related overdose was the cause of death for people as young as 12 years old.

Drug overdose death in the U.S.
In 2021, there were 106,000 drug overdose deaths. Over 70,000 were from fentanyl.
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Drug overdose death in Santa Clara County
In the past five years. 416 involved fentanyl.
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Fentanyl death in Santa Clara County
In 2022 alone, there were 160 fentanyl deaths - almost 15 times more than 2018.
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Facts on Fentanyl:

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid. 

  • POTENT: Up to 50x stronger than heroin and 100x stronger than morphine.
    A few grains of sand worth can be lethal.
  • SYNTHETIC: Not plant-based. Made in a lab. 
  • OPIOID: Pain reliever like oxycodone, morphine and heroin.

There are two types of fentanyl: medical grade (prescribed by a doctor) and illicitly manufactured. Medical grade fentanyl can be safely administered by healthcare providers. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is not safe, and has permeated the street drug supply due to its potency and cheap cost. 

This is a national public health crisis. People, especially young people, are ingesting illicitly manufactured fentanyl without knowing it and dying at alarming rates as a result.

Fentanyl is very cheap and extremely addictive. Drug dealers are dangerously mixing illicitly manufactured fentanyl w​​ith, and disguising it as, other common drugs like Oxy, Percocet and Xanax to increase profits. It has also been found in party drugs like cocaine and MDMA. This production process is not regulated and does not undergo any kind of quality control. Users have no way of knowing what they are getting in these street drugs, putting them at significant risk of poisoning and overdose – and as little as two milligrams of fentanyl (two grains of sand) can kill a person.

​The practice of cutting drugs with fentanyl is relatively new, so public awareness is low.

Fentanyl takes friends

In 2019, there were 71,000 drug overdose deaths in the US, most of which were from fentanyl or other synthetic opioids. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related deaths - almost twice as many as people die from drug overdoses than are killed in car accidents.

Many drug dealers mix the much cheaper fentanyl into other drugs like heroin, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy/molly), and methamphetamine to increase their profits. 

Lots of pills that look real are fake. People thought they were taking ecstasy, but it was cut with fentanyl. This is causing overdose deaths in Santa Clara County. Also, people who thought they were getting heroin or OxyContin overdosed because it contained the much more powerful fentanyl. 

Using any kind of drug has risks. Illegal drugs or prescription drugs obtained illegally have the highest risk because you cannot be sure what is in it or how strong it is. Opioids are the most addictive drugs and have the highest risk of overdose.

Drug dealers are not known for being trustworthy, but if you are going to get drugs from someone you should put some effort into reducing the risks.

Do you get drugs from someone you know or a total stranger? Have they been selling drugs for a longtime? Do they care about the people they provide drugs to? Do they have longtime satisfied customers? Do they test or use the drugs they sell?

You may not be able to answer these questions, but having a reliable source is better than getting stuff from strangers you meet online.

Most overdose deaths happen when there is no one there to get help. If you are using risky drugs make sure there are other people around. If anything goes wrong, call 911 right away and stay with the person until help arrives. 

If you use opiates or know someone who might be using them, you can get the drug Naloxone (Narcan). Naloxone can stop an overdose and save a life. 

California allows pharmacists to dispense Naloxone without a prescription. This allows friends, family, and others in the community to use the auto-injector or nasal spray versions to save someone who is overdosing. People who are or know someone at risk for an opioid overdose can be trained on how to give naloxone and can carry it with them in case of an emergency.




The role of fentanyl in opioid overdose deaths

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, like heroin or morphine. It's used to treat severe pain, like after surgery. But fentanyl can be 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. As a result, just a few grains of fentanyl can cause a fatal overdose. Fentanyl is impacting our communities, especially young people: Since 2020, it's killed 159 people under 30 years old in Santa Clara County. Nationwide it's involved in 4 out of 5 Gen Z drug deaths.

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How accidental fentanyl overdoses have hit our communities

Like other opioids, fentanyl is extremely addictive. Because of this, dealers mix fentanyl into other drugs like cocaine, ecstasy/molly, Adderall, Xanax, meth, heroin, and painkillers (OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and others). It can be in powders, liquids, and pills. It's common for dealers to sell fake pills, especially on Snapchat and Instagram. The pills look the same as real ones but are actually laced with fentanyl. The trend has led to young people in our communities dying from accidental overdoses.

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What is a "fentapill"?

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How to use fentanyl test strips

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Fentanyl High | Official Trailer 1

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