Community Drug Education Summits continue to combat overdoses

Community Drug Education Summits continue to combat overdoses: Vineyard Church and Oak Park High School

Posted By: Sarah Boyd

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 fourth and fifth Community Drug Education Summits on April 25 and 27.

The first summit will be at 6 p.m. Monday, April 25, at Vineyard Church, 12300 NW Arrowhead Trafficway, just north of the intersection of 169 Highway and I-435.

The second will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at Oak Park High School, 825 NE 79th Terr., Kansas City, Mo., in partnership with North Kansas City Schools.

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 and Signature Psychiatric. At the April 25 summit, 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 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. Fentanyl also has been found in other illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.

The problem is growing in Clay County. Since July 2021, Sheriff’s Office detectives have recovered 755 fentanyl-laced pills. Just last week, detectives recovered approximately 40 to 50 dosing units of liquid carfentanil, which is 100 times more potent than regular fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine.  

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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