The rise in fentanyl in the U.S. has devastated families and communities. The 2024 fentanyl seizures represent over 136.6 million deadly doses.

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as an analgesic (pain relief) and anesthetic. It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as an analgesic. Fentanyl is being pressed into fake pills or cut into heroin, cocaine, and other street drugs to drive addiction.

It only takes a very small dose of fentanyl—2 milligrams—to be lethal, such as the amount found on the tip of a pencil.

Why is fentanyl so dangerous?

DEA lab testing reveals that seven out of every ten fake pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. DEA officials report a dramatic rise in the number of fake pills containing at least 2 mg of fentanyl, which is considered a potentially lethal dose. Drug traffickers are using fake pills to exploit the opioid crisis and prescription drug misuse.




Fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, making them available to anyone with a smartphone. If you have a smartphone and a social media account, then a drug trafficker can find you. This also means they are finding your kids who have social media accounts.

15-year-old Kelcy Orr died after taking what she thought was a prescription pill, but it ended up being a deadly dose of fentanyl. Kelcy’s parents, Jim and Jenny Orr, found their daughter dead in her bedroom on December 23, 2023.

Tips for Parents and Caregivers

  • Encourage open and honest communication
  • Explain what fentanyl is and why it is so dangerous
  • Stress not to take any pills that were not prescribed to you by a doctor
  • No pill purchased on social media is safe
  • Make sure they know fentanyl has been found in most illegal drugs
  • Create an “exit plan” to help your child know what to do if they’re pressured to take a pill or use drugs
  • For more tips on how to talk to your child about drugs, read Chapter 4 of Growing Up Drug-Free: A Parent’s Guide to Substance Use Prevention

Help is here

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, there are resources available to get the help you need. Now’s the time!

Did you know Narcan saves lives?

Narcan (or naloxone) is a medication that quickly reverses opioid overdose including ones from fentanyl. Narcan is sprayed up the nose and knocks the opioid drug off brain receptors, restoring normal breathing and saving lives. Narcan has nearly no side effects and will only work if a person has opioids in their system. It’s totally safe.

Did you know drugs can be checked for fentanyl?

Fentanyl test strips are small strips of paper that can detect the presence of fentanyl in all different kinds of drugs.