New Hampshire Recognizes Fentanyl Awareness Day May 7th

New Hampshire
Recognizes Fentanyl Awareness Day with a Core Message – There is “No Safe
Experience” when it Comes to Illicit Drugs

Concord, N.H. (May 6, 2024) – Fentanyl continues to be mixed into many illicit drugs with devastating results. Last year, three individuals were found dead in a Littleton home after reportedly ingesting cocaine laced with fentanyl. Cases like this, where individuals experiment with drugs and result in catastrophic consequences, are why there is “No Safe Experience” when it comes to taking illicit drugs because they could contain fentanyl.

With National and New Hampshire Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 7, officials in New Hampshire are calling on all individuals to be aware of the life-threatening dangers associated with fentanyl, a substance that is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin and morphine. The statewide public awareness campaign “No Safe Experience” focuses on educating youth, young adults and families of the prevalence of fentanyl in illicit drugs and counterfeit pills and a very small dose can lead to death due to its high potency.

According to the NH Department of Safety, there were 430 overdose deaths in the Granite State in 2023. Of these, nearly 85% were from substances where fentanyl was present. In the same year, there were 4,080 suspected overdose incidents reported, many of which required Narcan use by first responders. Death tolls may have been significantly higher if these measures were not taken.

“Fentanyl is an unforgiving, deadly, invisible killer that can take the life of anyone who decides to use an illicit substance,” said Colonel Mark Hall, Director of the New Hampshire State Police. “It is important to create a high level of awareness that there is No Safe Experience when it comes to illicit drugs and fake pills, as our forensic lab commonly finds fentanyl in these types of substances.”

Governor Chris Sununu issued a proclamation declaring May 7, 2024 Fentanyl Awareness Day in New Hampshire. The proclamation stated that “illicit fentanyl use is widespread and deadly, and poses a significant public health risk. The State of New Hampshire joins all those who have been affected by fentanyl misuse in spreading awareness of the harm that fentanyl can cause; resources are available for loved ones dealing with substance misuse; and reminds all Granite Slaters there is No Safe Experience when consuming any drugs that have not been prescribed by a medical provider and taken by the person they were prescribed to as directed by a healthcare professional.”

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid typically used to treat patients with chronic severe pain or severe pain following surgery. A dose the size of a few grains of salt can be lethal and it is often found to be mixed with other illicit substances including cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin. It is now regularly seen in fake pills branded as Oxycodone® and Percocet®, among others, and is undetectable without testing.

According to an April 2024 report by Statista, there has been a dramatic surge in drug overdose deaths in the U.S., over the past 10 years, which is being primarily driven by the rise of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. According to preliminary data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths exceeded 110,000 in 2022 with synthetic opioids involved in 76,000 of those deaths.

The No Safe Experience campaign will run through the fall and is focused on individuals who may be inclined to try substances without fully understanding what they are, where they came from and what might actually be in them. The campaign includes videos, public service announcements, social media resources, billboards and an informational website. Posters, racks cards and decals were distributed to 217 public middle and high schools and educational toolkits and resources are available to schools across the state.