Many people might be aware of fentanyl’s presence in heroin supplies. Unfortunately, there is much less awareness of how it is also found in stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine. Since 2016, there has been a faster national increase in fentanyl-and-cocaine-related deaths than in fentanyl-and-heroin deaths.
In New York City, nearly four in 10 deaths related to cocaine also involve fentanyl. People who use only cocaine have not developed tolerance to opioids, and may not know about vital resources like fentanyl testing strips or naloxone. Knowledge, in this case, really can save lives.
In spring 2018, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) contacted 47 bars, nightclubs and music venues in downtown Manhattan about participating in a public information campaign. The venues were not known sites of fentanyl-involved overdoses, just places where people regularly consumed alcohol and likely, cocaine. Twenty-three venues agreed to participate.
The health officials gave the nightlife venues posters and drink coasters displaying information about how to avoid fentanyl overdose. “Using cocaine tonight?” the posters read. “Fentanyl, a drug stronger than heroin, is being mixed into cocaine and is causing a spike in overdose deaths. You can’t see, taste, or smell fentanyl.”
The posters also offered simple safety tips: “Use with others. If you overdose, it’s important to have someone else around to help. Have [naloxone] on hand and tell others how to use it. It could save your life.”
TO CONTINUE: https://filtermag-org.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/filtermag.org/bars-nightclubs-deaths-fentanyl/amp/