BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Fentanyl overdoses are on the rise to dangerous levels around the U.S. and here in Alabama. Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr held an event this past weekend, raising awareness of the increased use of fentanyl right here in our community.

Saturday at the Ensley Recreation Center, Carr expressed concerns about how fentanyl is being mixed in a variety of drugs, like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines’ and many other opioids. Sadly it is being found everywhere because it’s undetectable in most cases and that is why Carr is calling fentanyl the ‘Silent Killer.’

During the event, District Attorney Carr also spoke about the recent Narcan being sold over the counter and how this fentanyl concern is really impacting communities everywhere for this to now be an option.

“You know I think, number one it tells us that this is a real issue. And let’s take it a step further. Also, there are now strips that the FDA has approved to put on college campuses around the nation to test for fentanyl. So now we are actually issuing testing strips on college campuses to test for fentanyl that’s how deadly it is. And now you see that there is over the counter medications for Narcan. Narcan is basically a drug that allows you to basically wake up from death. Because actually not only if you don’t ingest fentanyl you could have it in your pocket. You could come in contact with it and still overdose from it and I think that’s one of the important components of what people need to know. And let me also say this because I hope people hear this,” said Carr.

“In 2019, we had 95 deaths, from an overdose of Fentanyl. In 2020 we had a 100% increase, we had a 190. In 2021, 316 new numbers of fentanyl, a 50% increase and it’s continuing to rise, continuing to climb…. just in Jefferson County,” he added.

When asked if he thinks everyone should have Narcan in their homes, Carr said the following:

” I would recommend it, absolutely. But I would also recommend this. If you have a family member that you know spoke marijuana. We all do. All of us do, No doubt about it, know someone that you know that is taking pills. I think its incumbent that you have a different conversation with them and you tell them. Hey, look if you smoking this marijuana. We need to figure out how to get it from a reliable source. You know tell them that. But let me just be honest with you, if you buy it off the street like most people are doing. And don’t get me wrong it’s not legal. But right now it’s about saving lives. And it’s about notifying the community.  and it’s about awareness and its about being proactive and so obviously. I’m glad to have the support of the people you see here and the rest of the community. Because at the end of the day. My job as DA is to hold people accountable for the crime that they commit but I also see that it’s my job also to make the people of the community aware of what’s going on and the dangers that persist. And I’m glad commissioner Sheila Tyson is here and she is always supportive as well. And we just want the community to be aware of these numbers and the death. And I see what this drug is. It is a potent drug… very potent.”

For details on fentanyl and overdose prevention you can visit the Alabama Department of Public Health website here.