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Can you spot the pill containing Fentanyl?
October 24, 2022
SOLANO COUNTY – At least 100 Solano County residents—and more than 100,000 Americans—died last year of a drug overdose. Nearly two-thirds of those fatalities were likely due to fentanyl. To warn youth and their families about the profound dangers of fentanyl and counterfeit prescription drugs, Solano Public Health is expanding its “Fentanyl Kills” opioid prevention campaign in collaboration with the Solano County Office of Education, local school districts, the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, local police departments, and throughout the community. The initiative coincides with Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign to ensure kids stay drug-free.
“Teens take street pills thinking they’re Oxycodone, Adderall or Xanax,” says Robin Cox, MPH, CPH, Solano County’s Health Promotion & Community Wellness (VibeSolano) Bureau Chief. “They don’t realize they are counterfeit pills until it’s too late – their first encounter with the counterfeit pill can often be fatal.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. One in four counterfeit pills contain fentanyl. Many of these counterfeit pills contain a high enough dose of fentanyl to kill. In recent years, there has been an uptick in fentanyl-related deaths, especially among teens in Solano County. Some youths take pills given to them by friends or purchase them from local dealers, assuming they are legitimate prescription medications. In other cases, youth are sold “rainbow fentanyl”, a new kid-friendly, multi-colored variant recently marketed to youth.
“It’s sobering to know that it takes just 2 mg of fentanyl, equal to four grains of sand, to kill a person,” said David Gao Chan, MPH, who coordinates the county’s opioid prevention efforts. “No one wants to lose a loved one to an overdose, so it’s important to talk to kids about the risk of street pills.”
The latest phase of VibeSolano’s opioid prevention campaign includes: an interactive and multi-lingual micro-website; greater multilingual reach with advertising and educational material in Spanish and Tagalog; and additional digital, print, and transit advertising. Solano Public Health is also working with Touro University of California’s Drug Safe Solano and other partners to promote and distribute “Fentanyl Kills” fact sheets, bookmarks and postcards within the community.
In the campaign, health officials offer three ways to protect families:
n Only take pills prescribed to you.
n Talk to your kids about the risk of street pills, like Oxy or Adderall. Many fatal counterfeits have been sold to youth on social media.
n If you or someone you know shows signs of overdose, call 911 immediately or administer lifesaving Naloxone (Narcan®) as soon as possible.
“It comes down to this:, if a pill isn’t prescribed to you, or your kids, it’s not safe,” says Gao Chan. “Fentanyl kills.”
Learn more about the dangers of fentanyl and counterfeit prescription drugs or download educational tools at VibeSolano.com. VibeSolano is the branding for the Health Promotion & Community Wellness Bureau of the Solano Public Health Division, Health and Social Services Department.