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Gov. Little marks Fentanyl Awareness Day amidst rising overdose deaths in Idaho

Governor Brad Little stands behind a podium. On a large screen behind him are the words "Fentanyl, all it takes is everything" written across it.
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Office of the Governor
Governor Brad Little talked about the dangers of Fentanyl at Kuna High School on National Fentanyl Awareness Day

Gov. Brad Little marked National Fentanyl Awareness Day as opioid related deaths have nearly doubled in Idaho in the last decade.

Little spoke in front of students at Kuna High school about the dangers of Fentanyl.

“A few traces of fentanyl the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen or 100th of a of a business card in weight is enough fentanyl to kill a person,” he said.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare recorded358 overdose deaths in 2022, about 50 percent were due to fentanyl use.

“The most important thing is it's really up to you to help yourselves and each other, to be aware of it,” he added.

In April, the governor signed into law a bill that limits who can receive free overdose prevention kits. In a letter, he stated he did so with reservation.

“Given the growing threat of fentanyl in our state, it is counter productive to erect barriers to accessing one of the primary lifesaving tools to reverse opioid overdoses,” Little wrote.

Previously available to community members, the naloxone kits will now only be distributed to first-responders, a move local harm reduction activists have said could lead to needless deaths.

“Imposing a new distribution strategy for naloxone on first responders without seemingly working with the associations representing first responders shows the danger of setting policy through intent language in a budget committee,” Little said.

In a news release sent out following the event at Kuna High School, Little said he would also be traveling to the southern border with Idaho State Police to “assist the State of Texas on a month-long mission for drug and fentanyl interdiction efforts.”

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.

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