Gen. Whitley

Ray Whitley

The Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference is launching its newest statewide awareness effort: “Fentanyl: The Deadliest High.” General Ray Whitley, along with district attorneys across the state, will be focused on educating Tennesseans on the extreme dangers of fentanyl, the most prevalent synthetic opioid in the United States.

Fentanyl-related overdoses have increased exponentially in Tennessee over the last few years. It is often illegally sold on the streets disguised as other drugs, where users unknowingly take too much and ultimately overdose. A dose as small as 2 milligrams, roughly equivalent to the weight of four grains of sand, is considered lethal to the average person.

While the use of fentanyl has increased, awareness of the drug has not. District Attorneys conducted focus groups with middle and high schoolers across the state to determine the awareness level of fentanyl and its dangers. Findings from these focus groups shaped the approach for the awareness effort, which is primarily directed toward 13 to18-year-old Tennesseans.

“In our research, we discovered a lack of education around the dangers and prevalence of fentanyl and opioids in general,” said Guy Jones, executive director of TNDAGC. “Our youth are our future. It is with that in mind that we work to inform them on the realities of addiction and overdose. We want this effort to be the start of the end of fentanyl and deadly drug abuse in Tennessee, and we must work together to make this goal a reality.”

“We are seeing far too many cases of people dying from drug overdoses, and fentanyl is now the leading cause,” Whitley. “Tennessee’s District Attorneys are committed to getting the word out to everyone as to how exceptionally dangerous this drug really is.”

The awareness effort will heavily utilize social media to reach students across the state and disseminate the message of the deadly nature of fentanyl, especially with the risks associated with street drug usage.

Those interested in learning more can visit Tennesseans are encouraged to follow the TNDAGC on social media @TNDistrictAttorneys (Facebook) and @TNDAGC (Twitter and Instagram).

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