One Pill Can Kill - End Fentanyl Poisoning

Graphic with stylized text: #OnePillCanKill - End Fentanyl PoisoningFentanyl is now the most deadly drug circulating on the illegal drug market – just 2 milligrams or the equivalent of two grains of salt, is enough to kill. In 2021, 5,961 Californians died because of fentanyl poisoning. That is 17 every single day.

According to the California Department of Public Health, statewide fentanyl deaths increased from 239 deaths in 2016 to 3,946 in 2020, or 1,551%. In California, 71% of all opioid-related deaths in 2020 were a result of fentanyl poisoning. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl account for two-thirds of the 105,000 nationwide drug-related deaths that occurred between October 2020 and October 2021.

We have to do better. As we work on legislative solutions to this crisis, please read the following information on how you can keep your family safe. 


Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. 

There are two types of fentanyl: pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Both are considered synthetic opioids. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain, especially after surgery and for advanced-stage cancer. However, most recent cases of fentanyl-related overdose are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which is distributed through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, which makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more dangerous.


It may be hard to tell whether a person is high or experiencing an overdose. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to treat the situation like an overdose because time is of the essence and you could save a life.

  1. Call 911 immediately
  2. Administer Naloxone (Narcan), if available
  3. Try to keep the person awake and breathing
  4. Lay the person on their side to prevent choking
  5. Stay with the person until emergency assistance arrives


Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a life-saving medication that reverses an opioid overdose and saves lives. It can restore normal breathing within 2 to 3 minutes in a person whose breath has slowed or stopped as a result of opioid overdose. Narcan is easy to use and small to carry, specifically the prefilled nasal spray.

You can now buy Narcan without a prescription at your local pharmacy. It is covered under your health insurance plan, as well as Medi-Cal and Medicare. Contact your health plan to confirm coverage of Narcan before purchasing the nasal spray and confirm availability at your local pharmacy.

Other Resources

Fentanyl Resources and Digital Toolkits (DEA)

DOJ Drug Fact Sheet - Fentanyl

CDC Drug Facts-Fentanyl