National Fentanyl Awareness in North Texas

STOP FENTANYL road sign. Opioid warning. | Image by canbedone, Shutterstock

National Fentanyl Awareness was on May 9, and North Texas police and sheriff’s departments held public forums for families to tell stories about their experiences. 

Fentanyl has become one of the most dangerous and well-known drugs. The Drug Enforcement Agency says, “Fentanyl is involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any cause of death, including heart disease, cancer, homicide, suicide and other accidents.”

Anne Milgram, Administrator of the DEA, said that fentanyl is everywhere and information about the drug is crucial to avoid potential threats.

“Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered,” said Milgram, per the DEA. “Fentanyl is everywhere.  From large metropolitan areas to rural America, no community is safe from this poison. We must take every opportunity to spread the word to prevent fentanyl-related overdose death and poisonings from claiming scores of American lives every day.”

Jeri Horton is from Plano and spoke at one of the forums held in North Texas. Horton said her daughter had potential and that her accidental use of fentanyl should not define her.

“She didn’t want to die. She didn’t choose to die. She didn’t deserve to die,” said Horton. “She made a choice. It cost her her life, but that doesn’t define who she was. She was a beautiful young girl. She had a lot of potential,” said Horton, per NBC 5 DFW.

Dallas Doctor Daragh Heitzman has experienced fentanyl firsthand in the emergency room and with his son.

“I’ve worked in emergency rooms, we see every type of drug, but you don’t see your child die from this. It’s totally unexpected,” said Heitzman, per NBC 5 DFW. “My son did not want to die. This was inadvertent and that’s what’s happening to most of these kids.”

In the last year, the Opioid Response Strike Force reported 260 deaths from the drug in Dallas County, per NBC 5 DFW. Dallas Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot said the city has begun mapping out where incidents occur.

“Overdose mapping can help identify in overdoses allowing a more rapid response with necessary resources,” said Creuzot, per NBC 5 DFW.

A medication called Naloxone has begun being used to help overdoses and reverse some of the effects of fentanyl. The Opioid Response Team explains the effects of the medication on its website.

“Naloxone is a medication that quickly reverses the effects of opioids and can restore normal breathing within 2 to 3 minutes. Naloxone can prevent death due to a drug overdose with fentanyl or any other opioid if given in a timely fashion,” says the team on its website.

Although the medication helps preserve some effects, there are still many concerns with the prevalence of fentanyl in the metroplex.

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