FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Tuesday, May 10 is National Fentanyl Awareness Day, and there are members of the Fort Wayne and Allen County community who want you to know just how prevalent the drug is in society.
In 2019, Fort Wayne set a new drug overdose death record with 144 such cases. In 2020, a new record was set with 145 overdose deaths. In 2021, the number jumped again, all the way to 175, according to Fort Wayne Recovery’s Community Outreach Director Nate Moellering.
“It’s very scary because the thing with fentanyl is, the reason we’re spreading awareness, it’s making its way into almost every drug on the street,” Moellering said.
People may buy prescription pills or illegal substances, like meth or cocaine, and they ingest them not knowing they’re laced with fentanyl.
Moellering said the biggest issue is because they’re unsuspecting, they aren’t equipped with Narcan to reverse the effects of the overdose.
Someone who knows firsthand what that’s like is Captain Chad Bauer of the Fort Wayne Fire Department.
Bauer’s son Logan, who he describes as an “all-American kid,” took a little blue pill he was told would help him sleep before going to an overnight shift at his job.
The pill was laced with fentanyl and Logan’s body shut down almost immediately, Bauer said.
He found Logan in the morning and tried to perform CPR, but he knew it was too late.
Now, Bauer is making it his mission to get out and inform other people, especially younger kids and their parents, as the average age for overdose deaths continues to drop.
“You’re gone and your family has to deal with it, and it’s bad. You don’t know what you’re getting out there. It’s very dangerous,” Bauer said. “It’s all about saving our kids’ lives. The hard work that everybody does – first responders, teachers, you guys [the media], everybody – we’re in this together and we just need to reach out and help people and to show the kids that we care, and we’re here for them.”
If you visit fentanylawarenessday.org, there are plenty of facts about the drug, tips to take action, and a list of companies and organizations that have joined in the fight against fentanyl.
Moellering, along with Tommy Streeter, hosts a web series called Bare Knuckle Recovery, which is one of the partners for Fentanyl Awareness Day.
Anyone struggling with addiction and wants to get help can start by contacting Fort Wayne Police’s Hope and Recovery Team to get guidance for help and treatment.
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