In the US and Canada approximately 80,000 people die of overdoses each year. This is double the rate from just ten years ago and the direct result of fentanyl contaminating the illicit drug supply, causing 40,000 deaths last year alone.
Since 2016 fentanyl-laced cocaine fatalities have grown at a faster rate than fentanyl-laced heroin fatalities. At more than 5,000 per year, casual or recreational cocaine users are at the greatest risk because they have little to no opioid tolerance and, unlike daily heroin users, are largely unaware that synthetic opioids are being cut into their drugs.
This video, made by Toronto-based creative agency The Garden
in partnership with DanceSafe
, is directed at people who use cocaine recreationally, to educate and inform them of a simple test strip that can possibly save their lives. Fentanyl test strips can detect fentanyl and its many analogs, including the deadliest of all—carfentanil—in cocaine and other drugs. Like a pregnancy test, the strips use immunoassay technology and provide accurate results within two minutes. One red line is positive for fentanyl. Two red lines is negative.
“Naloxone has been successful in reversing opioid overdoses, but fentanyl test strips can prevent overdoses in the first place,” says Emanuel Sferios, founder of DanceSafe.
DanceSafe, a US-based nonprofit is the world’s largest reseller of fentanyl test strips, distributing over 20,000 per month directly to drug consumers at music events around the US and Canada, and online through its website, dancesafe.org
The Garden created and produced this video to support International Overdose Awareness Day
, a global event held on August 31st each year to raise awareness of overdoses and reduce the stigma associated with drug use.
“We know that the days of ‘just say no’ are long behind us, and that the war on drugs was lost,” says Shane Oglivie, founder of The Garden. “We want to help educate people on harm reduction strategies that can actually make an impact, and shift the public conversation towards practical, evidence-based solutions to the opioid crisis.”