May 09, 2022

Senate Resolution Designates May 10 as National Fentanyl Awareness Day

Senators seek to increase public awareness of deadly counterfeit fentanyl pills

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), co-chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control and Judiciary Committee ranking member, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) led a group of their colleagues on a Senate resolution designating May 10, 2022, as National Fentanyl Awareness Day. Overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, largely due to the influx of fentanyl — a synthetic opioid — being mixed into illicit drugs.
 
In the 12-month period ending October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. Nearly 69,000 of those deaths involved fentanyl. In the 12-month period ending April 2021, fentanyl was the leading cause of deaths for Americans aged 18 to 45. Just one kilogram of fentanyl can kill 500,000 people, making it 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The DEA also estimates that nearly 40 percent of illicit pills it tests contain potentially lethal doses of fentanyl. The number of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl seized by the DEA has increased more than 500 percent since 2019, up to 9.5 million counterfeit pills in 2021.
 
“Fentanyl has poisoned the streets of our communities, including through counterfeit pills that are made to look like prescription drugs. These fake pills are often sold on social media or other online platforms to teenagers and young adults, which has worsened the substance abuse crisis. By joining our effort to raise awareness, law enforcement officers, parents and educators across the country can take proactive steps to get illicit counterfeit pills off the streets and help save lives,” Grassley said.
 
“Once fueled by prescription drugs, the opioid epidemic that has ravaged the United States for years is now fueled primarily by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is lethal at extremely low doses. This means when illegal drug dealers mix small amounts of the drug into counterfeit pills, the risk of an overdose death rises exponentially,” said Feinstein. “With fentanyl-related deaths climbing every year, we must do more to raise awareness of what is fueling record-high overdose deaths.”
 
Cosponsors of the resolution include Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). Reps. David Trone (D-Md.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) are leading this resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives.
 
A broad coalition consisting of nonprofit organizations, businesses and government officials have also joined the National Fentanyl Awareness Day effort to raise awareness. It is also supported by an advisory council that includes experts in drug policy, public health and harm reduction. Learn more by visiting FentanylAwarenessDay.org.
 
Read the full text of the National Fentanyl Awareness Day resolution by clicking HERE.
 

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