CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Tuesday marks the first-ever Fentanyl Awareness Day in West Virginia. The day is designed to raise public awareness about illicit fentanyl mixed with street drugs and in counterfeit pills. These practices are relatively new, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

West Virginia’s Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) within the DHHR will join partners nationwide in observing and educating.
 
“Nationally, fentanyl is involved in more deaths of Americans under age 50 than any other cause of death, including heart disease, cancer, and all other accidents,” said Dr. Matthew Christiansen, Director of the Office of Drug Control Policy. “In West Virginia alone, fentanyl was involved in more than 75 percent of all overdose fatalities in 2021.”

The CDC predicted that over 1,500 West Virginians died from drug overdoses from July 2020 to July 2021. In April alone, enough fentanyl was seized in north central West Virginia to cause over 145,000 fatal overdoses.
 
Fentanyl Awareness Day coincides with the DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy and Bureau for Behavioral Health’s focus on overdose awareness and prevention. In an attempt to promote awareness of the rising fentanyl crisis, DHHR has committed to partner in the promotion of National Fentanyl Awareness Day through social media using #NationalFentanylAwarenessDay and #JustSayKNOW. These hashtags will correspond with posts targeted toward the public, youth audiences, parent and educator audiences, and individuals who use drugs. 

For updates throughout the day, follow these social media pages:

  • Twitter: @FentAwareDay
  • Instagram: @fentanylawarenessday
  • Facebook: @nationalfentanylawarenessday

For more information on fentanyl test strips and opioid overdose prevention, visit the ODCP website. Learn more about naloxone here
 
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