Learn about the dangers of Fentanyl and its impact on our community



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

Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opioid. It’s killing people — and many of them don’t even know it exists.

400+ fentynal
deaths in 2021

+70% increase in
fentanyl deaths

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

– Dane County Executive Joe Parisi



Help Prevent Poisonings 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

Overdose Aid Kits (OAK) Box 

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.

Know the Signs of Overdose. CALL 9-1-1

  • 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

How to Talk to Your Kids

Start a conversation with your kids

The Correct Way to Dispose of Medication:

In 2021, 69% of all drug deaths involved fentanyl.

– injuryfacts.nsc.org

reduce harm


Overdose AID + UW Campus Nalox-Zone

NARCAN nasal spray kits are available in Overdose Aid Kits (OAK boxes) throughout Madison, including on the UW-Madison campus (Nalox-Zone), offering vital information and medication to rapidly address opioid overdoses.

Find UW Campus Nalox-Zone’s Here

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.

Never use alone

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

Recovery Ready?

Are you or a loved one seeking resources about Recovery?

Get Started Here:

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.

increase in
fentanyl deaths
0 %

About Fentanyl

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

About our partnerships

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.

Read a great article on harm reduction on the Harm Reduction Coalition website

Overdose Aid Kits & Narcan

O.A.K. Box Availability in Madison

Overdose AID Kits, also called O.A.K. Boxes, are available free of charge at various locations across Madison. Many locations have limited availability, check the map for details.

Safe Communities is working on local partnerships to provide access to O.A.K. Box availability 24/7. More info coming soon.

24/7 Overdose
Aid Kits

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Overdose Aid Kits - Restricted Hours

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More Resources & Related News

Safe Communities Reveals Fentanyl-Reduction Plan Related to Dane County Harm Reduction and Prevention Act

School-based Programs


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.