City of Dallas recognizes Fentanyl Awareness Day
The City of Dallas Opioid Response Strike Force recognized national Fentanyl Awareness Day Tuesday by hosting a press conference and sharing a Mayoral proclamation at Dallas City Hall. Leaders including dozens of governmental, educational and nonprofit partners spoke to raise awareness of lifesaving resources across the city.
“We are here to highlight the harm fentanyl has brought upon our communities and ways the City and those at home may help bring an end to this epidemic. For too long this dangerous drug has plagued our neighborhoods with addiction, overdoses, and deaths. Together as a City, we will put an end to it.” said Council Member Adam Bazaldua, District 7.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine used to treat severe pain. Fentanyl’s potency is one reason for its prevalence; the amount which may be contained in a package the size of a sugar packet contains hundreds of potentially fatal doses.
“Tragically, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving illegally made fentanyl more than tripled in the United States from 2016 through 2021” said Dr. Philip Huang, DCHHS Director/Dallas County Health Authority. This National Fentanyl Awareness Day it is important that we come together to take action and raise awareness about the dangers of illegal fentanyl.”
The City of Dallas Overdose Response Team (ORT), a partnership between the DFW-based nonprofit Recovery Resource Council and Dallas Fire-Rescue, conducts follow-up visits within 72 hours to residents who experienced an overdose requiring transport to a hospital or 911 call.
“Since the first of the year, the Overdose Response Team or O.R.T. has reached out to over 100 people that overdosed and were transported to the emergency room by DFR. Last year over 260 people who fentanyl caused or contributed to the death in Dallas County. This epidemic does not distinguish between age, sex, race or income. People who have had at least one overdose are more likely to have another. We are here to help residents find resources for recovery.” said Chief Scott Clumpner of Dallas Fire-Rescue.
Families are then offered resources, including naloxone (also known as Narcan) and connection to treatment options. Narcan is a medication that quickly reverses the effects of opioids within three minutes, can prevent death due to an opioid overdose if administered fast, does not require a prescription, can be given as a nasal spray, and has no effect on a person who does not have opioids in their system.
This short-acting medication may be administered more than once, is available in pharmacies without a prescription, and can be ordered online for free at MoreNarcanPlease.com. Texas State legislators are currently contemplating ways to increase the availability of Narcan.
“We are here to remember those lost to the fentanyl crisis,” Council Member Paula Blackmon, District 9 said “We are working together to prevent more people from becoming victims. Each one lost has a name, a family, and a story. The best thing we can do to honor these families is to prevent more of them. We are at the forefront of the fight.
Test strips that quickly detect trace amounts of Fentanyl which may be fatal are also available — but currently illegal in Texas. Bills which could make them legal in our state are now under consideration in the current Texas Legislative Session.
If you suspect someone you care about may need help with substance abuse, please visit CommunityResources.dallascityhall.com.
For more information about the City’s response to the opioid crisis, please visit the Dallas Opioid Response page at Dallas.gov.