You’ve probably warned your kids about the dangers of drugs — but have you talked to them about fentanyl?

Know the facts

Illegal drugs made with fentanyl are flooding the United States, leading to a record number of overdose deaths. The problem is nationwide, because young people today can get drugs almost anywhere — online, from friends, and on the streets.

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid.

Fentanyl is prescribed by doctors to treat pain, but not all fentanyl comes from a pharmacy. Because it is so potent, addictive, and cheap to make, illegal drug manufacturers often use chemicals to mix their own fentanyl.

Fentanyl is added to other drugs to make them stronger.

Fentanyl can be found in cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, molly/MDMA, and other drugs. Illegal drug makers also use fentanyl to create counterfeit pills that look like real medication.

Fentanyl is easy for kids to access, even if they’re not looking for it.

Kids may encounter fentanyl anywhereonline, at school, or on the street. Illegal drugs are widely available, and many of them contain fentanyl.

A fatal dose of fentanyl is small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil.

Prescription pills purchased online are often fakes made with fentanyl.

Illegal drug manufacturers use pill presses to create fake pills that look like real medication, but are much more dangerous.

People who want to experiment or self-medicate with prescription medication may buy a few pills and accidentally consume fentanyl. Fentanyl has become so common that even a pill from a trusted friend may not be safe.

When the DEA seizes fake prescription pills, it tests them. The DEA Laboratory has found that, of the fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills analyzed in 2023, 7 out of 10 now contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. (Source: DEA)

People can test their drugs with fentanyl test strips.

Learn more about fentanyl test strips and how they work. These strips are only legal in certain states. Use this state-by-state guide to check if they are legal in your state.

Fentanyl overdoses happen fast.

Because fentanyl is so strong, an overdose can happen within moments of ingestion.

Opioid overdose reversal medications are safe, legal medications that can reverse an opioid overdose.

Common types of opioid reversal medications include naloxone and nalmefene. Administering them right away can save a life. Learn how to use opioid overdose reversal medications.

These facts are scary, but they’re also important.

Talk about fentanyl with your kids, so they’ll know how to keep themselves safe.