BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Mayor Randall Woodfin is sounding the alarm about an uptick in the number of overdoses in Birmingham.

In a post to Twitter, he said that ‘fentanyl contaminated cocaine’ in the community is to blame.

Chief Deputy Coronor Bill Yates said fentanyl being mixed with other substances is not new.

Health officials want you to have all the tools available to protect yourself from it. Dr. Darlene Traffanstedt, Jefferson County Department of Health Medical Director, said the problem is it doesn’t take much fentanyl mixed with anything to be a deadly combination.

“It is an extremely potent drug at a very small dose,” Traffanstedt said. “Someone may not be trying to get fentanyl or are looking for fentanyl and are completely unaware there is fentanyl in the substance they are using.”

According to Traffanstedt fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. She said everything available for purchase for recreational use could be contaminated with fentanyl.

“Right now, people who purchase a pill not from a pharmacy for a friend, on the street or people who purchase any other type of substance have to make the assumption that there is fentanyl in it and prepare themselves and use it as safely as possible if they’re going to use,” Traffanstedt said.

Traffanstedt said Jefferson County is on track to exceed last year’s death overdose numbers – and that was the worst year yet.

The department encourages you to take advantage of free online training and naloxone kits – something it launched two years ago this month. As of this past June, the department also offers training and free fentanyl test strips.

If you need help toward recovery, you can contact the 24-7 substance use hotline at 1-844-307-1760, which is answered by individuals in recovery who have been through what you are experiencing.