You're on the list! Fentanyl is not.

The Details

Fentanyl is contaminating all types of recreational drugs across Colorado. Fentanyl is an opioid that’s 50 times stronger than heroin, which means overdoses happen faster and are more likely to be deadly.1 When recreational drugs are tainted with fentanyl, it’s very hard for people to know it’s there, and it can make anyone vulnerable to an overdose.

We’re not here to judge; we’re here to help you stay safe. So let’s go over some precautions to make your night out a safer one.

The Checklist

If fentanyl makes its way to your gathering, know how to kick it out.

  • Bring naloxone (a medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose)
  • Before the party, designate a non-user
  • Know the signs of an overdose
  • Have test strips available for testing drugs for fentanyl 
  • As soon as you spot an overdose, call 911 and use naloxone. Fentanyl overdoses are incredibly fast, and there’s no harm in using naloxone. Better safe than sorry. 

RSVP

This is your invitation to spread the word on how to Keep the Party Safe.

keep the party safe

Keep The Party Safe is a campaign that aims to reduce the number of fentanyl overdose deaths in Colorado by educating people about ways to prevent or reverse fentanyl overdoses.

The Situation

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, continues to contaminate recreational drugs across Colorado, causing or contributing to 920 deaths in 2022.2 So it’s more important than ever to learn about fentanyl and how to reduce the risks of an overdose.

Fentanyl can be mixed in with other drugs, like cocaine, meth, MDMA and heroin, or it can be made into counterfeit pills that look like benzos or other opioids. You cannot overdose by touching fentanyl. Fentanyl-laced drugs can be taken as pills, inhaled, or smoked. These counterfeit pills can look very real, and it can be extremely difficult to tell them apart from legally manufactured pills, so we highly recommend taking precautions no matter what.

Fentanyl can be prescribed to reduce pain, but it is extremely dangerous when used without a doctor’s supervision or unintentionally. Some people knowingly sell drugs laced with fentanyl, but you can get tainted drugs from someone who doesn’t know it’s there. That includes dealers, but also friends and acquaintances who share their drugs. 

Fortunately, you can protect yourself if you take some precautions.

let's unpack your checklist

Bring Your Own Naloxone (B.Y.O.N.)

Naloxone is a medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, including ones caused by fentanyl. It’s 100% safe and should be your go-to in all suspected overdose situations, even if they turn out to be false alarms. Naloxone is a must-have at all parties or gatherings, and all guests should know who has it or where it’s stored.

The most common form of naloxone—and the easiest to use—is a nasal spray, and brand names include Narcan and Kloxxado. Naloxone can be purchased or ordered from any pharmacy in Colorado or online, and you can check your insurance coverage to see what you have to pay. NARCAN® naloxone nasal spray can now be found over-the-counter in stores.

Naloxone has been proven safe to use past expiration. You do not need to throw away expired naloxone and should still use it in the event of an overdose. Store your naloxone in a cool, dry place. It is not recommended to keep naloxone in your car where excessive heat exposure is possible.

 Here’s how to administer a naloxone rescue. 

The Designated (And Beloved) Non‑User

A designated non-user is like a designated driver and just as important. If your night could include recreational drugs, pick a designated non-user ready to use naloxone if fentanyl crashes the party. Take turns each time you go out. Stay safe and don’t let this be your last night out.

Test Strips

You can check your drugs to see if fentanyl is present with fentanyl test strips. When used properly, test strips are reliable and can be an important step to take. But test strips aren’t always 100% accurate. Even when drugs test negative, remain highly cautious and prepared to use naloxone in case the test is a false negative. Test strips can be found online, via syringe access programs, and Denver residents can order them directly from the county.

What Does an Overdose Look Like?

  • Person is Unconscious or Unresponsive
  • Slow or Stopped Breathing
  • Pinpoint Pupils
  • Limp Body
  • Vomiting
  • Weak or No Pulse
  • Bluish-Purple Lips or Skin Tones in Lighter-Skinned People
  • Grayish or Ashen Tones in Darker-Skinned People

If you or a friend are experiencing any of these behaviors after recreational drug use, it’s time to put the checklist in action.

How to Use Naloxone

There are a few different ways naloxone can be given. The most common is the nasal spray—here’s how to use it. 

lying down with head tilted back

Ensure the person is lying down with their head tilted back.

Start rescue breathing

Insert nozzle into one nostril and press plunger firmly. Start rescue breathing.

administer a second dose

If no response after 2-3 minutes, administer a second dose (if available) in the other nostril.

Naloxone has been proven safe to use past expiration. You do not need to throw away expired naloxone and should still use it in the event of an overdose. Store your naloxone in a cool, dry place. It is not recommended to keep naloxone in your car where excessive heat exposure is possible.

For more information on other types of naloxone, visit OpiRescue.

Your Shopping List

Naloxone can be found online, purchased over the counter, or ordered from most pharmacies and drug stores. There is a standing order in Colorado that allows anyone to get naloxone without a prescription, regardless of age. Ask the pharmacist and remind them of the standing order if they request a prescription. NARCAN® naloxone nasal spray can now be found over-the-counter in stores. Test strips are harder to find but are becoming increasingly available, especially online. If you’re in Denver, you can order naloxone and test strips directly from the county.

Resources for Communities

Interested in using Keep The Party Safe handouts and posters in your community? Use this form to request materials.