May 10 is National Fentanyl Awareness Day. Here’s what you need to know about the somber but important day.

Alarming numbers continue to worsen as more Americans than ever grapple with addiction across Kentucky and the nation. Fentanyl is only making matters worse. 

According to reports, synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are to blame for at least two-thirds of all overdose deaths. Nationally, deaths resulting from an overdose crossed the 100,000 threshold last year.

The synthetic opiod is 50x stronger than heroin and 100x stronger than morphine. 

“The advent of fentanyl’s integration into street-level use has dramatically changed the landscape of addiction, making this the most dangerous time in history to use drugs,” said Pat Fogarty, Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) Senior Vice President of Operations. “Nearly all illicit drugs are potentially contaminated with fentanyl, making any kind of drug use potentially deadly.”

May 10th kicks off the first-ever Fentanyl Awareness Day in response to these staggering figures.

“On the first National Fentanyl Awareness Day, we must continue to educate Kentuckians on the influx of illicit fentanyl in counterfeit pills, heroin, and cocaine that has claimed tens of thousands of lives nationwide,” said Brittney Garrett of the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative. “Enforcement to remove fentanyl and its analogs from the street, coupled with ensuring access to Naloxone and evidence-based treatment, is key to saving lives during this unprecedented time.”

Fentanyl is striking America’s youth at an alarming rate. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests overdose deaths jumped dramatically among teens age 14-18 in 2021 and are projected to more than double in two years. 

Fentanyl is involved in more American youth drug deaths than heroin, meth, cocaine, and prescription drugs combined. National investigators say it is a cheap but potent drug, with its profitability prompting dealers to make fake pills, including Adderall. An estimated 250 to 500 million pills made with fentanyl are in circulation in the U.S. at any time.

“Fentanyl overdose deaths are not only the result of individuals using a contaminated supply, but many have also adopted fentanyl as their drug of choice,” added Fogarty. “For those who are struggling, treatment is available at Addiction Recovery Care, and recovery is possible.”