WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Tuesday is the first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day, a day meant to educate people on the dangers that fentanyl poses.

According to the Luzerne County Coroner Frank Hacken, over 200 people died using drugs in 2021…Breaking the county’s record for most drug overdose deaths in a year.

“Suicides, homicides, motor vehicle fatalities…In 2021, we had 117 of those deaths total. When you look at drug overdoses we had 205. Our drug overdoses are almost doubling our other non-natural deaths,” said Hacken.

Stefanie Wolowink, with the Wyoming Valley Drug and Alcohol Services, said that fentanyl is one of the biggest challenges that drug and alcohol service workers face. She said that a lethal dose could be the size of just two grains of salt.

Two grains of salt is how much fentanyl would be a potentially fatal dose.

Wolowink said that fentanyl is so dangerous because it’s so cheap to use it to cut so many drugs and people have no idea they’re even getting it. Dealers are also selling users fentanyl claiming its oxycontin or Adderall, using social media apps.

Hacken says, “Many people do not understand what they’re getting. They think they’re getting cocaine, some type of pill, even marijuana is being laced with fentanyl which is a major concern because people are almost playing Russian roulette with their lives when they’re taking drugs.”

He says everyone needs to be more proactive because once you’re on an autopsy table, it’s too late.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance abuse disorder you can reach out to places like Wyoming Valley Drug and Alcohol Services for help.