Emily’s Hope Marks National Fentanyl Awareness Day, Amplifying Efforts to Combat the Fentanyl Crisis

Sioux Falls, SD—On Tuesday, May 7th, in observance of National Fentanyl Awareness Day, Emily’s Hope is joining forces nationwide to raise awareness and combat the escalating crisis posed by illegally manufactured fentanyl. Now in its third year, National Fentanyl Awareness Day mobilizes a diverse coalition of individuals, families, educational institutions, corporations, influencers, community groups, and governmental bodies, all united in their commitment to addressing this urgent public health emergency.

In 2023, the overdose death rate topped 112,000 in a 12-month period for the first time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; a majority of those involved fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is exponentially more potent than heroin and often secretly laced into street drugs and counterfeit pills. Unwitting consumption of fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45 and claims the lives of an average of 22 teenagers each week.

This year’s awareness efforts are particularly poignant in light of recent statistics from the Sioux Falls Police Department. Chief of Police Jon Thum highlighted a troubling increase in fentanyl seizures within the city – over 3,000 grams in 2023, up from less than 1,000 the previous year. This dramatic rise underscores the widespread reach and hidden dangers of this lethal drug.

Emily’s Hope is proud to be a national partner for Fentanyl Awareness Day. Here are details on the local event: 

  • What: National Fentanyl Awareness Day
  • When: Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at 10:30 a.m. 
  • Where: Sioux Falls Law Enforcement Center/320 W 4th St. 

The Orr family of Vermillion will also be present at this event. The Orrs tragically lost their 15-year-old daughter, Kelcy, to counterfeit pills containing fentanyl this past December. Their story shared in an accompanying video, serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating impact of this crisis on families across the nation.

In response to the ongoing emergency, Emily’s Hope is actively distributing free fentanyl testing strips and Narcan (naloxone) and offering an array of resources for individuals seeking help and families in need of support. Additionally, we recently launched the Emily’s Hope Post Overdose Response Team (PORT), a new initiative providing follow-up care for overdose survivors, further solidifying our frontline role in combating this deadly epidemic.

On this National Fentanyl Awareness Day, we urge everyone to join us in this critical fight. Together, we can save lives and prevent further tragedies. Let’s unite in awareness and action to put an end to the fentanyl crisis once and for all.

To schedule an interview with Angela Kennecke or for more information about Emily’s Hope and National Fentanyl Awareness Day, please contact Anna Fey at annafey@emilyshope.charity.

Editor/Producer Note:

Angela Kennecke, CEO and Founder of Emily’s Hope is available for interviews. Angela has been featured on NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, CBS This Morning, NewsNation, and dozens of other national outlets.

Over the last decade, Angela has focused many of her stories on the growing opioid crisis. Tragically, her 21-year-old daughter, Emily, died of a fentanyl overdose. In the wake of this personal loss, Angela has taken Emily’s story nationwide and internationally. She speaks tirelessly about the issues surrounding opioid addiction, a parent’s frustration, and a sense of helplessness, all from the perspective of a mother who has lost her child.

About Emily’s Hope:

Emily’s Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to removing the stigma of substance use disorder through awareness, education, and prevention; and eliminating financial barriers for treatment and recovery. Founded by Angela Kennecke in memory of her daughter Emily, Emily’s Hope has helped more than 200 people enter recovery, launched the Emily’s Hope Substance Use Prevention Curriculum for students K-5 and is developing a companion curriculum for grades 6-12. In partnership with the SD Department of Social Services, Emily’s Hope launched a Post-Overdose Response Team (PORT) in 2024 to assist survivors of drug overdoses.