Is there fentanyl in Fountain Hills? And by the way, what is fentanyl?

Those questions are being posed by the Fountain Hills Coalition as it seeks assistance and answers from residents in filling out an online survey about the dangerous drug.

Information gathered from the community survey will help coalition leaders tailor enhanced substance use prevention and resiliency building in Fountain Hills and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

The approximate five-minute survey seeks residents’ opinions, concerns and awareness about the rise in fentanyl and overdoses here and around the state.

All responses are anonymous and will be used only in aggregate to help drug coalitions improve their outreach.

The survey is located at surveymonkey.com/r/ SACLAzFentanylCommunitySurvey.

“We are part of a loose-knit group of coalitions in Arizona working on a pilot project to save lives here and throughout the state,” said Mike Scharnow of the Fountain Hills Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. “We would appreciate people taking a few minutes to help us with this survey.”

The coalition is launching a significant education and awareness campaign this summer regarding fentanyl and counterfeit prescription pills.

Many of these fake pills are being laced with the powerful synthetic opioid known as fentanyl – similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent.

Illegal fentanyl is sold as a powder or made into pills that look like real prescription pain relievers, and this is often leading to overdose deaths.

According to Maricopa County, drug-related deaths in the county rose by 32 percent of 46.2 per 100,000 people in 2020.

The number of fentanyl cases has continued to double annually most years since 2015.

“People don’t know these pills are being laced with potent fentanyl and it’s killing them,” Scharnow said. “We need to raise awareness in the community of the dangers lurking in these innocent-looking pills.”

The survey link, as well as other information, can also be accessed at fhcoalition.org.