Fighting the Fentanyl Crisis

Five Texans die every day, on average, from fentanyl poisoning. Understanding the dangers of fentanyl is crucial in reducing the threat it poses to you and your loved ones.

Fentanyl: One Pill Kills

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl, equal to 10 to15 grains of table salt, is considered a lethal dose.

Illegally manufactured fentanyl is found in heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and in counterfeit pills. As a result, many people may not know they're ingesting fentanyl, leading to an accidental poisoning.

Criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills, falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills, and killing unsuspecting Texans, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Some counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids like oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and alprazolam (Xanax), or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall). Fake prescription pills that are widely accessible can contain deadly doses of fentanyl. They are often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms — making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including teens and young adults. Texans should only take legitimate pharmaceutical medications prescribed by medical professionals and dispensed by pharmacists in the U.S.

What is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids — including fentanyl. If you or someone you know is at risk of an opioid overdose, speak with your doctor or pharmacist about obtaining naloxone to carry and keep at home. A prescription is not required.

Signs of an overdose:

  • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
  • Face is extremely pale and/or feels cold or clammy to the touch
  • Body goes limp
  • Fingernails or lips have a purple or blue color
  • Vomiting or making gurgling noises
  • Cannot be awakened or unable to speak
  • Breathing or heartbeat slows or stops

How to save a life:

  1. Call 911 right away
  2. Try to wake the person up
  3. Give naloxone, if available
  4. Begin rescue breathing or CPR
  5. Turn the person on their side to prevent choking
  6. Stay with the person until emergency services arrive

What Youth and Young Adults Should Know

Many fake pills are made to look just like prescription Xanax (bars), Percocet (perk), opioids (painkillers) like Vicodin and Oxycodone (oxy), and stimulants like Adderall (addy).

These fake pills are increasingly common, and fentanyl may be mixed into them. Even in small doses, fentanyl can be deadly.

Be prepared to save a life. Learn the signs of a fentanyl poisoning and speak with your doctor or pharmacist about obtaining naloxone to carry and keep at home.

What Parents Should Know

Whether you want to inform your child of the risks or are concerned about a loved one who uses drugs, it's time to talk about fentanyl. Have a calm, direct conversation, and listen without judgment. Work together to make a plan to stay safe.

Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids, including fentanyl. Keeping it on hand could mean the difference between life and death — for you or someone else. Naloxone is available at many pharmacies in Texas without a prescription.

Help for First Responders and Health Care Workers

Due to high levels of stress, first responders and health care workers are at risk for substance use disorders. The Heroes Helpline is a free, confidential, telephone support line available to EMS and health care workers. Callers can access free peer support, learn how to navigate treatment and referral services, and receive information on employment and licensing concerns.

Go to Heroes Helpline or call 833-367-4689.

How Can Schools and Youth Programs Help?

Schools and programs serving youth can increase awareness and create safe environments for children. They can educate youth and their community on the dangers of fentanyl and how to help prevent opioid misuse and addiction.

Schools and programs serving youth can be prepared for an opioid overdose by having naloxone available and providing training on how to administer it. Also, schools can update their memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with local first responders to ensure a plan is in place to immediately respond to an overdose.

Downloadable Materials

Anti-Fentanyl Flyer

This community flyer provides general information about fentanyl and resources to fight the fentanyl crisis. Download and share with friends and family (PDF).

Social Media Toolkit

This Social Media Toolkit (ZIP) provides social media posts and graphics you can share to increase awareness about the fentanyl crisis.

Other Graphics

Share these #OnePillKills graphics (ZIP) to increase awareness about the fentanyl crisis.

Living With a Substance Use Disorder?

Treatment and recovery are possible.

The Texas Targeted Opioid Response supports treatment and recovery providers across the state. Get Help at

Additionally, Outreach, Screening, Assessment and Referral (OSAR) providers offer Texans comprehensive services for fentanyl and other substance use. Callers speak with a trained counselor who can assess needs and refer them to a variety of services, including in-person and telehealth treatment. To find your local OSAR, go to Outreach, Screening, Assessment & Referral.

Texas Takes Action

HHSC is committed to addressing the opioid crisis and protecting the health and safety of all Texans. The Texas Targeted Opioid Response (TTOR) is a public health initiative operated by HHSC through federal funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. TTOR's mission is to save lives and provide lifelong support to Texans with opioid and stimulant use disorders by expanding access to prevention services, integrated services, treatment services and recovery support services.

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