TOPEKA (KSNT) – The battle with fentanyl is intensifying as time goes on.
Since 2018, more than a quarter of a million people have died from fentanyl overdoses in the United States, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Annual fentanyl deaths have gone up each year and have more than doubled from 2019 to 2022.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is fifty times more potent than heroin.
“It’s called synthetic opium because it doesn’t come from a natural product,” DEA assistant special agent in charge Chad Whiteman said. “One little tip of a pencil amount of fentanyl will kill somebody, and there’s no way that they can mix that in a blender and these laboratories in Mexico in a way that will ensure that it’s diluted enough so as to not kill people.”
Fentanyl is so small and potent that it can be mixed in with almost any kind of drug – including fake prescription pills – which often results in accidental poisoning.
One family has led the fight after losing multiple family members to fentanyl poisoning in the last two years.
“Your life matters and just don’t try it because it’s a poison. It poisons your mind, poisons your body, and it poisons your family,” Amber Burger, a mother of a fentanyl poisoning victim, said.
The Burger family along with others have teamed up with prevention and resiliency services–an organization that works to help inform people on the fentanyl crisis, to create the first “save a life” station.
The “save a life” station is a metal box that is packed with Narcan, a nasal spray known to counteract a fentanyl overdose, test strips, and other necessities. The families hope this box will help put life saving medicine in the hands of those who will need it.