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Northeast Delta HSA launches campaign to educate, create awareness about Fentanyl misuse

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) announces the launch of its Fentanyl is Forever campaign, an initiative to increase awareness of fentanyl risks and its impact on communities and families.


NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said this campaign was “created to bring attention to the opioid issue in our region and provide resources to individuals seeking treatment for themselves or a loved one. Additionally, this campaign was designed to share information and resources with behavioral health professionals, physicians, and policymakers.”


“No one agency or community can solve this complex problem alone,” Dr. Sizer said. “Opioid addiction will be successfully mitigated once we develop enough compassion for those addicted and get them the evidence-based treatment they need, work to reduce those negative social determinants that drive their addiction, and help the people addicted to opioids find something meaningfully to live for other than drugs.”


Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S. Even in small doses, it can be deadly. Over 150 people die daily from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like Fentanyl.


NEDHSA’S Opioid Use Disorder Prevention Manager Kara Jackson Etienne, LMSW, said, “the campaign’s website conveys the risk associated with opioid use and misuse. Any pill or powder substance obtained from an unlicensed provider could have fentanyl in it.”


“We directly tell viewers all it takes is seven grains (about the size of table salt) to die,” Etienne said. “Fentanyl gives no warning signs of an overdose. It has no smell or special color. It has been showing up in other drugs on the street and at parties. Whether it’s your first use or tenth, it can very easily become your last time.”


On the newly released website, the prevention messages unfold through five diverse short stories that allow people to experience and understand the risks of Fentanyl to their friends, families, and communities. In addition to warning the public about the dangers of Fentanyl, viewers are then linked to local resources for more information and help. The campaign includes local television, radio, billboards, newspapers, and social media ads.


NEDHSA oversees the administration of the state’s Opioid Response Plan. This plan is tasked with decreasing the effects of the opioid epidemic in Northeast Louisiana through five pillars: surveillance, prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.


NEDHSA, through its Prevention and Wellness Department, provides the Opioid Misuse and Abuse Prevention Program (OMAPP), which is funded by the Louisiana State Opioid Response (LaSOR) Grant. Through OMAPP, NEDHSA staff provides Narcan training and distribution, safe medication storage and disposal products, grief counseling, nursing, and peer support services through its crisis mobile team. NEDHSA staff also provides evidence-based programs like LifeSkills and Generation Rx. These services are provided at no cost to all who reside in NEDHSA’s catchment area.


Dr. Sizer added: “Fentanyl is addictive, and it’s everywhere. It’s not just in the big cities you hear about on the news; it’s here in our front and backyards. We are continuing to take every opportunity to spread the word to prevent fentanyl-related overdose deaths. We also intend to do everything we can to help those addicted to opioids recover and thrive.”

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