BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Fake is Real is the name of Northampton County’s new campaign to educate young people about the dangers of fentanyl. The county says four out of ten pills bought on the streets have lethal doses of the synthetic opioid.
“Hidden fentanyl is driving a fatal new phase in U.S. opioid epidemic,” said Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure.
“What struck me most is how little fentanyl it takes to kill somebody,” said Susan Wandalowski, Northampton County’s Director of Human Services. “It takes just two milligrams, which would fit on the tip of the pencil.”
To combat the deadly drug, Northampton County is teaming up with an Easton-based marketing agency to get information about fentanyl all over: in person and online.
“Websites, social media, interactive channels, to be the go-to resource for fentanyl, questions, and also education,” said Sarah Clark, a creative strategist with Kudu Creative.
The Fake is Real website is already live.
The campaign is funded partly from proceeds the district attorney secured from litigation against opioid manufacturers.
“It is scary when we see these cases of illegal drug delivery and use that starts when an otherwise innocent person receives pain medication for a legitimate injury or hospital procedure,” said Northampton County District Attorney Terence Houck.
An example of those procedures is knee surgeries, making student athletes a group organizers want to focus on.
The Fake is Real campaign is one of several efforts underway in the county to get poison off the streets.
Another effort in the works: an outreach vehicle called Hope One, which would eliminate barriers to resources by going into communities.
“This mobile assessment vehicle would be able to provide drug and alcohol assessments, complete mental health referrals, set up physical health screenings and provide a connection for citizens to other essential services,” said Northampton County Administrator of Drug & Alcohol Kathleen Jiorle.
There are also T-shirts for the campaign.
Among the goals are getting Narcans into as many local businesses as possible.