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Get the Facts


On an average day:

  • More than 100 people die everyday from an opioid-related overdose .

  • More than 3,900 people will use a prescription opioid outside of legitimate medical purposes and supervision.These prescription drugs are many times obtained through theft, fraud, or otherwise diverted from people with legitimate, medically-appropriate prescriptions.

  • More than 575 people will try heroin for the first time.

  • Heroin overdoses increased at least 244% since 2007. Many of the new heroin users are youths, with an average age of 24 ½ years old for first-time users.

  • The change in heroin administration routes to pill form, coupled with the rise of counterfeit pills often containing heroin, fentanyl, and fentanyl derivatives, has caused unwitting users who purchase drugs on the street to overdose and die in record numbers.



  • No longer restricted to the stereotypical “dirty needles” used in an alleyway, heroin has invaded rural towns and urban cities alike and does not discriminate among socio-economic lines, race, age, or gender.

  • It can appear as a dark black gummy tar or a brown or white powder. Many times, the dark black or brown powder heroin carries a strong vinegar smell.

  • Heroin in powder form can be injected, smoked, or inhaled. The drug is also made into counterfeit pills, tablets, and gel capsules, which can be swallowed or crushed and chewed.



  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. Fentanyl is 80-100 times more powerful than morphine, the substance to which heroin metabolizes, and is commonly used as an end of life sedative or during operational anesthesia.

  • Fentanyl has historically been marketed for end-stage cancer treatment and applied via patches on the skin. Illicit fentanyl now appears in powder form, and is often visually indistinguishable by law enforcement.

  • Fentanyl appears in counterfeit tablets, pills, and gel capsules attempting to mimic certain prescription drugs.

  • Fentanyl powder has the power to kill with the ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption of just two milligrams. By comparison, a sweetener packet found on a restaurant tabletop generally contains 1,000 milligrams per packet.

  • Drug abusers, law enforcement officers, first responders, or family members who are unaware of its presence or lethality can be inadvertently exposed to fentanyl.

  • Drug traffickers are now combining fentanyl or fentanyl-related compounds with other drugs to increase their potency and profit. Many unsuspecting drug abusers who are abusing cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, or other synthetic drugs have overdosed and died within days, hours, or minutes, of each other following the introduction into a community of fentanyl or heroin laced with fentanyl.

Updated January 29, 2020