Community Drug Education Summit aims to combat overdoses

Community Drug Education Summit aims to combat overdoses


Amid an uptick in fatal and near-fatal overdoses linked to the recreational use of pills laced with fentanyl, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office is hosting its sixth Community Drug Education Summit on June 15.

It will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, at Harmony Vineyard Church, 600 E. 46th St., Kansas City, Mo., near North Oak and Interstate 29.

Parents, students, educators, loved ones of addicts, and all concerned community members are invited to attend.

 “The recent death of an Oak Park High School sophomore who took a fentanyl-laced pill has underscored the reason why we need to keep educating our community about this issue,” Sheriff Will Akin said.

Since July 2020, the Sheriff’s Office Drug Squad has investigated 15 fentanyl-related overdose deaths.

In addition to detectives from the Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Squad, the summits will feature addiction prevention and treatment resources from community partners like Tri-County Mental Health, Signature Psychiatric and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). A mother who lost her son to a fentanyl-laced pill and a recovering addict also will share their experiences. After the presentation portion, attendees will be invited to meet with detectives and treatment providers to ask questions or get help one-on-one.

The DEA issued a rare public alert in September 2021 about counterfeit prescription medications laced with fentanyl. In 2021, the DEA seized more than 20 million counterfeit pills, which was more than the last two years combined. These pills are widely available on social media and e-commerce platforms. Most concerning, the DEA found that 42% of pills seized (or 2 out of every 5) contain a lethal dose of fentanyl. These pills look like genuine prescription drugs and cannot be distinguished by appearance alone. Fentanyl also has been found in other illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.

These Community Drug Education Summits represent a small portion of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office’s fentanyl education efforts in 2022. Drug Squad members have spoken to students and staff at both public and private high schools, met with numerous community groups and interviewed with local media. If your group would like a presentation about fentanyl dangers, email Public Relations Manager Sarah Boyd.

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