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  • Intro
    A little time planning can go a long way and give you much more success than just forwarding a mail or a link. Think through these topics and be sure to do your research.
  • Educate yourself
    Make sure you have a good understanding of what is happening with the drug landscape in America with the introduction of fentanyl so you are able to competently and confidently speak to the issues. Some good resources: The Fentapill Problem: A Summary Parent Resources
  • Personal Story
    Are you a bereaved parent yourself or have a close friend or family member who is? Personal stories have huge impact. Think about if and how you want to tell that story as part of this effort in a way that makes the impact you are looking for and respects your child and family. Decide what aspects of your story you are not willing to share or are not important to the main message.
  • Local News
    Locate one or more relatively recent news stories from your own community or those nearby (google ‘fentanyl’ and your city or state). The more current and specific the story is about age, Fentapills, social media, etc., the better. Save these web links.
  • Data
    Find key data points and information about fentanyl/fentapills from reputable places that support the idea that this is needed in your community. If you can access local data and information through your local health department or law enforcement, that is ideal. Also be on the lookout for specific data points in local news articles. is a good place for national numbers. Here are some links that can help you find national and state insights:
  • Existing curriculum
    If your school district publishes their learning standards and/or curriculum, find out what is already included on this topic. If you have a teacher contact that teaches health curriculum, they can help you find this. It can be helpful if you know the specific learning standard/target you are trying to influence (i.e.: “Educate students on the social and health impacts of misuse of controlled substances”). If you can get your hands on classroom content, it is helpful to know if it specifically covers fake pills that can easily bought on social media so you know if there is a gap in the existing curriculum being taught in your schools.


We estimate ~15% of all drug deaths are caused by fake pills and 2-3 times that for youth ages 15-24.


For the 12 months ending June 2021, CDC projects for all ages:

  • Over 100K drug-induced deaths, +21% vs. prior year.

  • Over 64K of these deaths involved fentanyl, mostly illicit, and often in combination with other drugs; this is +34% vs. prior year.

  • Fentanyl was in 64% of all drug deaths, 84% of all opioid deaths.

Youth (Age 15-24) drug-induced deaths:

  • Have tripled over 20 years, driven recently by Fentanyl involvement which has grown ~6X in 5 years (+491%).

  • Meanwhile, in the same 5 years, deaths from Meth, Cocaine, Heroin, Benzos, & Legit Opioids combined have been mostly flat (+11%).

  • Fentanyl is involved in more youth death than all other drug types combined; many deaths involve multiple drugs.

  • In 2021, ~7,000 youth will have died with fentanyl involved,76% of all youth drug death. 

  • 14 & 17 year-olds have been more than twice as impacted by the growth in fentanyl death involvement over the last 5 years than all other ages.

Research on Dangers of Counterfeit Drugs among Young Americans (Age 13-24) shows that:

  • 86% say people their age feel overwhelmed, 71% feel there is a stigma surrounding mental health issues, and only 41% are comfortable talking about their mental health.

  • Coping with stress is the top reason cited for using prescription drugs without a prescription. 84% say that “coping with stress and anxiety” is a reason people may abuse prescription drugs.

  • Only 27% of Teens are aware of fentanyl being illicitly used in counterfeit pills, while half of Young Adults are aware of this issue.

  • When asked to rate how dangerous various drugs are, only 27% of teens and 44% of Young Adults say this about fentanyl, far less than for heroin and cocaine.

  • Nearly 1-in-4 (23%) don’t know enough to rate fentanyl’s danger at all, the highest level of uncertainty among drugs evaluated. This lack of information on fentanyl is even more common among Teens (35%).



Updated April 2022. All final through December 2020 + selected provisional data through Q32021

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