Fentanyl overdose awareness rally to feature families who have lost loved ones

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Family members who have lost loved ones to fentanyl overdoses will speak alongside a lineup of local officials Monday at the Minnesota State Capitol in an effort to make more people aware of the health issue.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says a record 1,286 overdose deaths were reported in the state last year, which is an average of more than three deaths per day. MDH officials believe fentanyl is part of the reason for the increase in overdose deaths.

RELATED: Drug overdose deaths reached record high in Minnesota in 2021, MDH says

Monday’s rally, which is scheduled for 1:30-3:30 p.m. on the Upper Mall of the capitol, aims to prevent as many of those tragedies as possible. Mental health professionals and recovery specialists are also expected be at the event.

“My son lost his life, along with 107,000 other people in the last year, but others don’t need to,” wrote organizer Michele Hein, whose son Tyler died in 2021 from an accidental fentanyl overdose.

The CDC says most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm and death are linked to illegally-made fentanyl that is mixed into other drugs without the user’s knowledge to increase euphoric effects.

The danger of ingesting fentanyl is that it is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, according to the CDC.

Health officials say small amounts of fentanyl can be lethal.

Click here for opioid overdose prevention resources from the CDC. Click here for MDH information on fentanyl test strips, which can help prevent overdoses. This naloxone finder website helps people find medicine that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.