Home Advocate North Texas Coalition to Fight Fentanyl – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

North Texas Coalition to Fight Fentanyl – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Fentanyl is now considered the deadliest drug in the United States by the DEA, and it is increasingly prevalent in Texas where, last year, border agents reported a more than 1,000% increase in the amount of fentanyl seized.

Still, advocates have argued that there simply aren’t enough resources to tackle the problem.

That’s why on Thursday, advocates from different cities and different lines of work came together to pledge to work in tandem to fight fentanyl, the synthetic opioid responsible for the majority of the 100,000 drug overdose deaths. last year in the United States.

“It’s education. It’s a treatment. It’s law enforcement. It’s everyone talking together, everyone saying we have a problem, not waiting for someone else to fix it,” said Philip Van Guilder, director of community affairs at Greenhouse Treatment Center.

Thursday’s meeting was the first of the new Meet for Change Coalition, which Greenhouse led alongside The Haven Texas and Winning the Fight, a group founded by Kathy O’Keefe after losing her 18-year-old son to a drug overdose.

Since then, she has seen the problem worsen, shifting her focus from heroin to fentanyl.

“It’s not a drug overdose anymore. It’s poisoning because for most people, the majority of drugs people die from, they don’t know that fentanyl is in those drugs,” O’Keefe said.

This includes young people like Jonathan Helmke, 15, who died in Denton in June after taking what he thought was Percocet, and Cheyenne Little, 26, in Greenville, who took hydrocodone mixed with fentanyl l ‘last year.

With few places to turn, families like theirs have launched their own outreach efforts.

Meet for change hopes to go further.

“We need to get more people with boots on the pitch,” O’Keefe said.

Thursday was the inaugural meeting of Meet for Change. The group plans to meet once a month.

On Sunday, which is National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day, Winning the Fight will host a free documentary screening and panel discussion for parents and children ages 11 and up to help start a conversation about preventing fentanyl. substance addiction. It will be at Flower Mound High School from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.