NewsGreat Falls News


'Overdose Awareness Day' highlights the dangers of substance abuse

Dean Snow
Drug depiction comparison
Posted at 4:39 PM, Aug 31, 2023

August 31st marks International Overdose Awareness Day, the world’s largest international campaign for reducing drug-related deaths and spreading awareness about the ongoing drug crisis.

Beth Morrison, the Great Falls Alliance for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Program Manager, says that drug abuse and trafficking is right here in the Great Falls community.

She said, “It's not one of these cases of, you know, 'not in my town, not my kids, not my family.' It could impact anyone at any time.”

A drug continuing to gain momentum and volume is Fentanyl. It is a potent synthetic opioid drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration for use as pain relief and an anesthetic and is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent that heroin.

2 viles of salt depicting fatal drug dose amounts
2 viles of salt depicting fatal drug dose amounts

Fentanyl is the number 1 cause of overdose deaths. The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office and the Great Falls Police Department reported that 14, 789 fentanyl pills were seized by law enforcement in our area in 2022. They also reported that Cascade County had 108 overdoses last year – and 19 of those resulted in death, and the numbers continue to climb.

“This is going to get worse as we go,” explained Morrison. “You know, one of the things that we really encourage is to educate yourself on the dangers and then spread that information to your own pockets of influence whether that’s your family, your friends, your coworkers, your church group. Anybody and everybody needs to realize how dangerous it is, and that it’s here.”

“I would say if you know anyone, reach out. Reach out and ask for help. It's the strongest thing you could ever do, and your life depends on it, ” said Dean Snow, Sober Life Program Director.

The Sober Life is a substance recovery group in coordination with the Alliance For Youth. The mission is to provide a healthy outlet where people in recovery can get a sense of purpose and fulfill their need for connection in a positive way. To learn more about the program, click here.

Dean added, “There are so many programs available for support. Reach out, educate, and get help when you need it.”