In a campaign to raise awareness of fentanyl, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is encouraging residents with loved ones affected by addiction to start carrying naloxone. Fentanyl is a deadly drug often found mixed with heroin or other opioids. Naloxone can be used to help reverse the effects of an overdose.
"Fentanyl abuse is feeding this nation's devastating opioid epidemic that destroys lives and families, and we are taking aggressive action to get these deadly drugs off our streets and protect communities across New York," Governor Cuomo said. "By shedding light on the dangers posed by this dangerous and addictive drug, we will help save lives and create a stronger, healthier New York for all."
Here in Western New York, some addiction advocates say fentanyl is popping up more and more frequently.
"Fentanyl is much deadlier than heroin," explained Avi Israel from Save the Michaels of the World. "When it's mostly fentanyl, obviously it reacts much quicker and people overdose a lot faster."
Save the Michaels is starting to train families how to use fentanyl test kits. If a loved one is struggling with addiction, Save the Michaels will provide these kits for free in order to prevent an accidental use of fentanyl.
The group does not condone drug use. This harm reduction strategy is a way to save lives in order to allow more people to live long enough to seek treatment, according to Israel.
Israel supports the governor's efforts to get more people familiar with fentanyl and just how dangerous it really is.
"I really think the way this addiction is running through our country, every public place should have a Narcan kit," he said. "How many times do we hear of somebody that overdoses in the bathroom of a restaurant?"
Click here for more information from New York State about naloxone and how to get the drug.