Fighting Fentanyl


Taylor Albert, Reporter

The fentanyl epidemic is taking over the lives of many people, unsuspecting or not. The drug is so dangerous that it kills within minutes of ingesting the substance.

Courtney Bannick, an officer in Florida, was searching through a vehicle during a traffic stop when she found narcotics on a passenger. It was too late when she realized what it was, and due to the wind conditions that night, the fentanyl blew into her face, and she ingested it unknowingly. The police on her radio did not know what was happening; all they heard was the sound of her choking. She was given three rounds of Narcan and thankfully survived a potentially fatal overdose.

The CDC reports over 100,000 deaths a year due to drug poisoning and overdose. Approximately 67 percent of these deaths were from synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl. Since 1999, almost 1 million people have died from overdose, 75 percent being from opioids. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has stated that only two milligrams of this drug can be lethal, and even more to those with a low drug tolerance. According to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, drug traffickers are increasing amounts of fentanyl laced drugs “in an effort to drive addiction and attract repeat buyers.”

Les McColgin, Galveston County resident, started Gulf Coast Outreach Services to reach those affected by fentanyl overdoses and their families. He started this to raise awareness about this drug because he has overdosed on it three times. He says he was never afraid of any drug- “the stronger the better.” John Hart, owner of Hart Pharmacy in La Marque, Texas, has allowed McColgin to use a broken vending machine in the pharmacy itself to distribute Narcan to people for free. More locations carrying a Narcan vending machine could be in the works depending on a grant for $200,000.

Fentanyl is a real drug, and it has real consequences. Many families and survivors are trying to raise awareness of this in efforts to decrease the number of deaths per year. May 10th marks National Fentanyl Awareness Day to increase awareness and decrease opioid demands.