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Know Fentanyl

Learn more about what fentanyl is and its impact
through illicit substances and fake pills.

Get the facts. You can help save a life.

"We as a community have a responsibility to act."

- Dane County Executive Joe Parisi on 9/8/22 announcing his Harm Reduction and Prevention Act to address opiate- and fentanyl-related emergencies.


be safe

If you actively use drugs, there are steps that you can take to do so safely and reduce the chance of harm.

Never Use Alone Hotline

Call 1-800-484-3731

Call this judgement-free hotline if you use by yourself. They will only call EMS if you become unresponsive.

Test Before You Use

You can find fentanyl test strips at these locations, along with easy instructions on how to use them.

Sign Up for Spike Alerts

Public Health Madison Dane County issues spike alerts when they see an increase in drug-involved overdoses. Sign up for Spike Alerts so you know when extra caution is needed.

Have Narcan on Hand

  • How to use Narcan
  • Narcan will not harm someone who is overdosing on something other than opioids.
  • This is a temporary treatment and it’s critical to get medical help as soon as possible by calling 9-1-1.

Are You Recovery Curious?

Learn more about Safe Communities resources available to get started in recovery.


Community Information

take action

Help Prevent accidental Poisings and Overdose

Two simple steps can help prevent misuse of prescription medications.

  1. Store medications safely

2. Dispose of unused medications properly at many Dane County MedDrop Locations


  • Where to find Narcan
  • How to use Narcan
  • Narcan will not harm someone who is overdosing on something other than opioids.
  • This is a temporary treatment and it’s critical to get medical help as soon as possible by calling 9-1-1.

OAK Box Locations

Overdose Aid Kits, or OAKs, are boxes that include information on how to administer the life saving drug narcan in an emergency, breathing masks, and other information and resources for those impacted by the opioid epidemic.

To learn more or inquire about an OAK Box for your location, please click below.


  • No response to stimuli
  • Shallow, labored or no breathing
  • Cannot be woken up
  • Snoring or gurgling
  • Blue/grey lips or fingertips
  • Floppy arms or legs


Start a conversation with your kids

Questions about Fentanyl

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

Prescription fentanyl is safe when taken as prescribed by a doctor to treat severe pain.

However, fentanyl is also made illegally.

Recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose, and death in the U.S. and Wisconsin are linked to illegally made fentanyl, which is added to other substances like fake pills, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. As a result, people may not know fentanyl is in the drugs they are using, leading to accidental poisoning. There are also signs that other substances, like the animal tranquilizer xylazine, are being added as well.

There are steps you can take to help save a life and reduce deaths from fentanyl poisoning and accidental overdose.

According to the Center for Disease Control, “naloxone can be given safely to people of all ages, from infants to older adults who my have unintentionally taken an opioid.” Naloxone, also known by its brand name, Narcan®, is a nasal spray that can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose. Always call 9-1-1 before giving naloxone.

It’s never wrong to do the right thing. By calling 9-1-1, you can help save someone’s life. While Wisconsin’s Good Samaritan law may have shifted, we believe it still covers both the person who overdosed and the person providing assistance.

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a real mental health condition. It can range from mild to severe and involves the physical and psychological dependence on a substance, despite negative consequences. It can affect people across all socio-economic conditions, age and race. However treatment is possible and people can go on to live full, productive lives.

Learn more about substance use disorders here.

There are too many examples of young people dying after trying drugs just one time to ignore. A simple conversation to raise awareness about the risk of fentanyl in pills made to look like real prescription medications or being added to other illegal drugs empowers your child to make good choices. It may even encourage them to talk to friends, which could help save a life down the road.

Opioids are a class of medications designed to alleviate pain, generally prescribed to treat or manage pain after surgery or injury. Fentanyl is a very strong type of opioid that can be prescribed as a lozenge, pill, nasal spray, transdermal patch or injection. Fentanyl can also be manufactured illegally, sometimes to look like legitimate prescription medication or added to other illegal drugs. Learn more at Dose of Reality: Get the Facts on Opioid.

This is a common argument when it comes to behaviors people object to, similar to arguments against needle exchange programs and prevention of HIV/AIDS.  By providing naloxone and fentanyl test strips, we encourage the safe use of drugs to avoid an accidental poisoning or overdose death while also offering resources to encourage people to stop using drugs and get help to address a substance use disorder.

There’s a great article on harm reduction at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website. Essentially, harm reduction focuses on prevention tactics, reducing risks and promoting health and wellbeing to empower people using drugs to choose purpose-driven, healthy lives. 

Resources and Links

Check back regularly for updates on drug trends and resources to keep yourself and people you care about safe.





Download and Print

Campaign flyers and brochures

Social Media

Prepared images and ideas for sharing Know Fentanyl via social media

Resources for Media

Campaign-specific facts and figures for media reference

For media inquiries, contact us at

Download Safer Drug Use Card

about our partnership

Safe Communities is proud to partner with Dane County to increase awareness about opioids and fentanyl in our region through this website and to advance the work of the Ending Deaths from Despair Task Force, the African American Opioid Coalition.

Click the link below for more information about our partnership program.



community impact

Deaths involving opiates and fentanyl have steadily increased in Dane County since 2016. In 2021, 139 people in Dane County passed away due to opiate related overdoses—reflecting 86% of all overdose deaths in the county. Opiate related deaths have increased more than 30% in the past five years. Meanwhile, overdose deaths involving fentanyl are up close to 70% in that same timeframe. Fentanyl was determined to be a contributing factor in over three quarters of the county’s overdose deaths in 2021.

Dane County 2021 Stats

Dane County ER Visits
Opioid-related Deaths
Increase in Fentanyl Deaths
+ 0 %


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School-based Programs

Sources of Strength Program The target population for Sources of Strength Secondary are Middle and High School students in Dane County. Sources of Strength is a highly effective program that harnesses

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Treatment Key

Safe communities has complied a list of abbreviation definitions for finding the right treatment for you.

MAT: Medication for Addiction Treatment.
OP: Outpatient Treatment – person lives at home or in the community, attends. individual and group therapy, these can include or not include MAT.
IOP: Intensive Outpatient Treatment – person lives at home or in the community, attends individual and extended groups, 9-12 hours a week.
Residential: person lives at the facility for a period of at least 14 days, some last as many as 45 days.
PHP: Partial Hospitalization Program is a structured mental health treatment program that runs for several hours each day, three to five days per week.
DBT: Dialectical behavior therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that integrates mindfulness techniques.