Focus on Fentanyl Town Hall at CMU September 15th

Voices for Awareness Facing Fentanyl

"Rainbow fentanyl pills are a direct target to U.S. teens"

Focus on Fentanyl Town Hall September 15th, 6 p.m. at CMU Ballroom

The Community is coming together to address illicit fentanyl and the direct effects in Grand Junction

This information can be life-saving. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to educating our youth about illicit fentanyl.”
— Andrea Thomas
GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO, U.S., September 8, 2022 / -- On September 15, 2022, a Focus on Fentanyl Townhall is being held at Colorado Mesa University Ballroom at 6 p.m. Voices for Awareness is a local nonprofit spreading awareness and prevention of the dangers of illicit fentanyl and is the host for the town hall presentation. The event is free to the public, and all ages are welcome.

In a recent interview, Mesa County Coroner Victor Yahn places an increase in fentanyl overdose deaths squarely on Interstate 70. "Grand Junction is the perfect storm along the highway," Yahn said that drug dealers like to stop off in Mesa County, a thriving 62,000-person city center, because there are plenty of people to buy drugs and very little competition for hundreds of miles. Grand Junction's geographic location marks us as a hub for narcotics smuggling and has recently been termed the "fentanyl funnel."

Rainbow fentanyl pills have reached Grand Junction. In the last two weeks, the police department seized approximately 60,000 pills, blue and rainbows. The police department needs the help of the community. "You need to educate your kids who are going to a high school party or college party," said Sgt. Godwin of the Grand Junction Police Department in a recent report this week. The Drug Enforcement Administration advised the public on August 30, 2022, of an alarming emerging trend of colorful fentanyl available across the United States. In August 2022, DEA and our law enforcement partners seized brightly-colored fentanyl and fentanyl pills in 18 states. Dubbed "rainbow fentanyl" in the media, this trend appears to be a new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people.

"Rainbow fentanyl—fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes—is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults," said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. "The men and women of the DEA are relentlessly working to stop the trafficking of rainbow fentanyl and defeat the Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for the vast majority of the fentanyl that is being trafficked in the United States."

Voices for Awareness Co-Founder Andrea Thomas urges the public to attend the town hall to be educated and understand the effects that illicit fentanyl has on our community. Families think that fentanyl is related to drug users specifically, and this is simply not true. Kids experiment, and they are trusting. They have no idea how vulnerable they can be to illicit fentanyl. Distributors reach out to our youth in all sorts of ways. Social media is the primary source of trafficking to youth. They don't need to be on the street in some dark alley to obtain these drugs. Illicit fentanyl has been found in every street drug out there. Kids can access these pills right from their phones, where there are menus of counterfeits posed as prescriptions. Cartels are making these pills to deceive an addict. Drug delivery can be made to your home as easily as a pizza delivered to your front door or even your bedroom window. We want parents to know the facts and have tools to start conversations with their youth to inform them. Don't wait until it's too late. The media can confuse people with photos of prescription fentanyl. Prescription fentanyl is not the issue, illicit fentanyl is. People need to know. This information can be life-saving. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to educating our youth about illicit fentanyl.

Speakers at the town hall include Mesa County Sherrif Todd Rowell and Retired DEA Derek Maltz. Jaime Puerta, President of Victims of Illicit Drugs, and Amy Neville, founder of The Alexander Neville Foundation, are also guests of the town hall. Puerta and Neville both took part in a short film warning others about the devastation of illicit fentanyl. The film "Dead on Arrival" will be shown as part of the education included at the Focus on Fentanyl Townhall. Puerta and Neville will also accompany Voices for Awareness and MCORG to a high school presentation to inform area students on September 14 in Fruita. Other upcoming fentanyl education events include a Focus on Fentanyl Town hall in Delta, Colorado September 13, at the Delta Recreation Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and a Movie and Panel Discussion on fentanyl hosted by MCORG at CMU on September 28, 2022, at 6 p.m.

Andrea Thomas
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Focus On Fentanyl Townhall September 15th at the CMU Ballroom 6 p.m.