By Dallas Payeton | Local 3 News
CHATTANOOGA - For National Fentanyl Awareness Day, the Hamilton County Coalition spent the day working the educate people about how opioids are plaguing the community.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-to-100 times stronger than morphine.
Debra Clark with the Hamilton County Coalition said all it takes is a dose of fentanyl the size of a grain of rice to cause an overdose.
“They have a lot of counterfeit pills now that have fentanyl in them that looks like other perception medications. So people need to know unless a doctor gives it to you or it comes from a pharmacy do not take it,” Clark said.
Fentanyl has been leading the overdose trends for the last 10 years, but in 2020 it peaked with every two out of three overdoses actually involved fentanyl.
“It is a synthetic opioid, so that is what makes it so much stronger and that is why people overdose on it quickly because they are not use to that type of strength in an opioid. That'll have a tolerance for something else, but when they get into the fentanyl that is a whole other level,” Clark said.
Clark advises that people get educated about the drug.
She lost her son three years ago from it.
“My family wasn't prepared. We did not know the risk, we did not know he was at risk. So, we did not have any Naloxone available. It is important for people to understand that if they have a family member that struggles with substance, you need to be prepared to recognize an overdose and be ready to do that if needed,” Clark stressed.
And to help combat the on-going crisis Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a new law, decriminalizing Fentanyl test strips and allowing them to be used a new tool to help identify the drug.
“It can be a good thing as longer as they are used correctly. We are not be going to giving the strips out as far as I know, but as long as they are being used correctly and given to the people that actually need it then they can definitely save lives,” Clark said.
If you have want to learn more about Fentanyl or other opioids contact the Hamilton County Coalition.