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 third Community Drug Education Summit tonight.
The Summit will be at 6 p.m. March 16 at the Gladstone Community Center, 6901 N. Holmes St., Gladstone, Mo.
“The overdoses we’re seeing lately – especially among young people – are unacceptable,” Sheriff Will Akin said. “We want to do everything we can to educate our community about what’s happening, and how it can be prevented and treated.”
In addition to detectives from the Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Squad, the summit will feature addiction prevention and treatment resources from community partners like Tri-County Mental Health and Signature Psychiatric. A mother who lost her son to a fentanyl-laced pill also will share her experience. After the presentation portion, attendees will be invited to meet with detectives, deputies and treatment providers to ask questions or get help one-on-one.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration 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. Around the country, fentanyl also has been found in other illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.
In 2021, The Sheriff’s Office Drug Squad investigated more than a dozen overdose cases involving fentanyl-laced pills and nine deaths. They investigated just two overdose deaths in all of 2020.
This is the third Community Drug Education Summit the Sheriff’s Office has hosted in an attempt to reach residents in all parts of Clay County. The prior summits took place in Pleasant Valley and Kearney. The next will be at 6 p.m. April 25 at Vineyard Church, 12300 NW Arrowhead Trfwy., Kansas City, Mo. Parents, educators, loved ones of addicts, and all concerned community members are invited to attend.
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