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Drug Enforcement Administration recognizes National Fentanyl Awareness Day

WASHINGTON – DEA is proud to join “Song for Charlie” and many of our valued law enforcement, public health, and non-profit partners in recognizing National Fentanyl Awareness Day.

WASHINGTON – DEA is proud to join “Song for Charlie” and many of our valued law enforcement, public health, and non-profit partners in recognizing National Fentanyl Awareness Day. Tomorrow represents an important opportunity to honor those we’ve lost to fentanyl poisonings by educating others about the deadly threat of this synthetic opioid.

To commemorate the first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day two years ago, the DEA Museum opened the Faces of Fentanyl exhibit at DEA Headquarters. The memorial wall, which now features more than 5,000 photos of Americans lost to the fentanyl crisis, has become a memorial for families and friends to visit when in the Washington, D.C., area.

The memorial serves as a powerful illustration of the deadliest drug threat our nation has ever faced.  In 2022 alone, 107,941 Americans died from drug poisonings, with a staggering 70% of those deaths caused by fentanyl and synthetic opioids.  Fentanyl remains the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18-45.

To mark National Fentanyl Awareness Day 2024, the DEA Museum and the Faces of Fentanyl exhibit will have extended hours on Tuesday, May 7, from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.

“Americans today are experiencing the most devastating drug crisis in our nation’s history. This is because one drug – fentanyl – has transformed the criminal landscape. DEA will stop at nothing to defeat the two Mexico based cartels – Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels – responsible for American deaths,” said Administrator Anne Milgram. “All Americans across the U.S., coast to coast, and every community in between have been harmed by fentanyl.  Today, we honor the Americans whose lives we lost and call upon all Americans to raise public awareness.  We must also reach more people faster through public awareness and education efforts.  We hope you will join our community partners on this National Fentanyl Awareness Day to educate your communities about fentanyl.”

DEA urges the public to remain cognizant of the extreme threat of fentanyl in our communities:

  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Just two milligrams—the equivalent of a few grains of salt—is a potentially lethal dose.
  • The Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels are hiding fentanyl in fake pills that look like prescription medications, such as oxycodone, Xanax, and Percocet. The cartels are also mixing fentanyl powder into other drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Many of the people poisoned by fentanyl had no idea they were even taking it.
  • The cartels, their members, and their associates continue using social media applications and encrypted communications platforms to sell pills and powders that are advertised as legitimate medications or other substances, but actually contain fentanyl.
  • The only safe medications are ones that come from licensed and accredited medical professionals.

For more information on fentanyl, visit DEA’s One Pill Can Kill webpage.  All of DEA’s One Pill Can Kill materials area available to the public for use.

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