Denver Agencies Bring Awareness to Fentanyl Dangers

Published on May 09, 2023

May 9 is National Fentanyl Awareness Day

Denver – Tuesday, May 9, 2023 – Today marks national Fentanyl Awareness Day, to which the Denver Police Department and the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) remind residents the dangers of fentanyl, encourage those facing drug addiction to seek help, and share how to help others impacted by drug abuse.

Tragically, in 2022, 244 people lost their lives due to overdose deaths involving fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid which is up to 50 times more potent than heroin, and 100 times more potent than morphine. Overdoses caused by fentanyl can happen faster and therefore may be harder to stop than those caused by other opioids. The drug can come in many forms, including pills, capsules, rock, and powders. In Denver, fentanyl has also been found in place of other illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Contents of drugs purchased anywhere except for a pharmacy may vary greatly in terms the strength, drug contents, and fillers. According to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 2022 lab testing, six out of every ten counterfeit pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. A lethal dose is considered to be two milligrams of fentanyl, which is an amount small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil.

The Denver Police Department (DPD) continues to focus on removing illicit drugs from Denver’s streets and arresting criminals who prey on those experiencing drug addiction. To date, DPD’s Narcotic’s team has seized 300,866 fentanyl pills and 453 grams fentanyl powder. Recently, in partnership with the DEA, Denver Police seized 50,000 pills containing fentanyl.

DDPHE offers harm reduction supplies, including naloxone and fentanyl test strips to Denver residents for free. Shipping times of these supplies from DDPHE can be up to four weeks. If there is an immediate need for naloxone, visit The Food and Drug Administration has approved Narcan (naloxone) nasal spray for over-the-counter use, though it’s unclear when Narcan might become more widely available.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out for help through Colorado Crisis Services online, by calling 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or texting "TALK" to 38255. Additionally, residents are encouraged to carry naloxone (Narcan) that may reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and to visit DDPHE’s Overdose Prevention webpage for additional potential life-saving information.