National Fentanyl Awareness Day is Sunday, August 21. Across the country, communities have come together to shed light on an issue that plagues countless families.
At Flower Mound, teenagers and their parents came together to better understand the deadly drug and the tools to hopefully avert tragedy.
It was the pain of her own loss that drove Kathy O’Keefe into action. When her son died of a drug overdose twelve years ago, fentanyl was not on the radar. Today, drugs have seeped into communities with deadly consequences.
“I want people to understand that this can happen to you. It happens in Flower Mound. It happens to good families who go to church and are close,” O’Keefe said. “It can happen.”
O’Keefe hosted a roundtable at Flower Mound High School where law enforcement said they had seen an increase in fentanyl over the past eighteen months. Eduardo Chavez is a special agent in charge of the Dallas Drug Enforcement Administration and was on Sunday’s panel.
“Ask this question. Make it uncomfortable,” Chaves said. “Because people’s lives depend on it.”
He said in the DFW area last year, the Dallas DEA seized more than 600,000 tablets containing fentanyl. This year, they are on track to double that number.
“It’s alarming, only because there’s no experimentation when it comes to fentanyl,” Chaves said. “Two milligrams is a lethal dose.”
According to the US DEA, fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine. NARCAN was available to families in Flower Mound as a lifesaving measure in the event of an overdose.
“You need difficult conversations at home. This elephant in the room should not be avoided,” Chaves said.
On National Fentanyl Awareness Day and Beyond, O’Keefe said she hopes fewer families go through what hers has.
“It’s so important for us to open those doors,” she said. “Pay attention to people.”
For more information or resources, visit https://wtf-winningthefight.org/ or call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-4357.