Colorado Families Affected by Fentanyl Forms Coalition

Voices for Awareness Facing Fentanyl

Andrea Thomas Founder Voices for Awareness

Facing Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness

Voices for Awareness Facing Fentanyl is Launching a Colorado Coalition for Families Affected by Fentanyl™

Affected families all over America have been a constant voice, warning others about illicit fentanyl and sudden death.”
— Andrea Thomas
DENVER, COLORADO, U.S., July 7, 2022 / -- Voices For Awareness (VFA)Facing Fentanyl, based in Grand Junction, CO, is an organization bringing the dangers of illicit fentanyl to the public. VFA is launching a Colorado Coalition for Families Affected by Fentanyl (CCFAF) to aid and support families affected by a fentanyl death.

Voices for Awareness and the CCFAF assist families with advocacy opportunities, give families a place to connect for support and provide them with current information about fentanyl issues in Colorado and elsewhere. VFA has formed a Fentanyl Family Advisory Board and invited its affiliates from around the country to collaborate with the Colorado Coalition. VFA is inviting Colorado families that are affected by fentanyl to be a part of this coalition.

D'Ann Hopkins and Andrea Thomas co-founded Voices for Awareness after Thomas lost her 32-year-old daughter in 2018 to fentanyl poisoning. Thomas says, "We can't bring our loved ones back, but we can warn other families and spare them from the devastation that fentanyl causes. Fentanyl-related deaths are escalating in Colorado, and we are asking Colorado-affected families to come together to be a voice in combatting this crisis."

Through our work with affected families, we recognize that people often suffer in silence because of the stigma related to the drug death of their loved ones. Illicit fentanyl deaths are hard to prosecute, and families think there is no help for them. Grief hinders action, and people don't know where to reach out for support. Affected families want to share their stories to help warn others or advocate but do not know where to begin. The fallout from losing your child or loved one to fentanyl poisoning can be all-consuming. These issues and more have moved us to form a coalition for affected families to help them come together for support and guidance in their advocacy. We don't have all the answers, but at Voices for Awareness, we believe that affected families' involvement in local communities can save lives locally.

There are a variety of options for how you can take part in this Colorado Coalition for Families Affected by Fentanyl. VFA collaborates with Federal, State, and Local agencies and is actively involved in proposed legislation, community support, and illicit fentanyl prevention and education. We firmly believe that each life is equally important, whether fentanyl poisoning happens to an unsuspecting victim or an active user. By affected families combining their lived experiences and resources, we can create effective networks. Ultimately we can make communities safer and save lives.

Illicit fentanyl is responsible for killing over nine hundred Coloradans in 2021. This number is expected to spike in 2022 to surpass previous years. Illegal Fentanyl seizures are up 50% from last year, just in the first six months of 2022. In a traffic stop in June 2022, the Colorado State Patrol seized 114 pounds of pure fentanyl powder at 1-70 near Georgetown, Colorado. That is enough fentanyl powder to kill 25 million people. As illicit fentanyl floods into Colorado and people continue to die, affected families are coming together to combat this crisis by warning the public, providing education, and teaching prevention.

The Colorado Coalition for Families Affected by Fentanyl webpage will launch in mid-July. We invite you to join us or connect with us for more details. Visit us at (Colorado Coalition tab)for more information.

Colorado is in the beginning stages of combatting illicit fentanyl in our State. In May this year, Governor Polis signed a fentanyl reform law that will further progress in fighting illegal fentanyl in Colorado. The law goes into effect this month. Under the new law, charges can be assessed for anything over a single gram. Affected families played a significant role in the recent legislation. The recent recognition of the fentanyl crisis in Colorado is a step forward. More work needs to be done to educate the public that no amount of fentanyl is safe and that this deadly drug harms our communities. An all-hands-on-deck approach is required to gain sustained change and save lives. Fentanyl deaths are increasing in Colorado, and this situation deserves immediate action, similar to the warnings provided for Covid 19. Fentanyl is prevalent in all Colorado communities. Affected families all over America have been a constant voice, warning others about illicit fentanyl and sudden death. During the recent legislative session, we saw a division of stakeholders. We must come together for better responses and ways to reach youth with prevention. Law enforcement, government agencies, affected families, and harm reduction should be working together because we share the same goal of saving lives. There is no time for division when lives are at stake. The illicit fentanyl crisis is a red, white, and blue issue, and no family is immune from fentanyl affecting them. Voices for Awareness strongly feels that stakeholders and communities must work together toward a multi-pronged solution. Voices for Awareness is inviting all Colorado-affected families to join the Colorado Coalition for Families Affected by Fentanyl.

Voices for Awareness Foundation is also the founder of Facing Fentanyl National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day on August 21. The National day brings affected families and Fentanyl Awareness Organizations together to spread prevention education across the United States.

Andrea Thomas
Voices for Awareness Foundation
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