Seattle to fund 700 naloxone kits as part of fentanyl awareness

SEATTLE — The city of Seattle is buying 700 naloxone kits to be given away at 25 naloxone trainings as part of its new effort to raise awareness of the dangers of fentanyl and counterfeit pills.

Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose.

Mayor Jenny Durkan, community members and public health officials announced the new efforts at a news conference on Thursday.

“Fentanyl and counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl are spreading throughout our communities, and we must continue to combat this growing crisis. Naloxone can reverse overdoses - these kits can truly save people’s lives,” Durkan said in a news release.

>> Related: $300,000 worth of fentanyl seized from Sammamish home, police say

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid painkiller that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and can be deadly in small doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Durkan said she asked city staff members to identify what actions could be taken to address fentanyl and counterfeit pills after receiving a letter from the family of Gabriel Lilienthal.

Lilienthal, a 17-year-old student at Ballard High School, died on Sept. 29 after taking a counterfeit pill that was laced with fentanyl.

Officials say eight King County teenagers died due to fentanyl-laced pills in 2019.

“If this can happen to a ‘straight A’ student it can happen to anyone and any family. We must turn Gabe’s tragedy into triumph, for his family and our community,” Seattle City Councilmember Dan Strauss said.

>> Related: Deputies warn of dangers of fentanyl after reviving woman with Narcan

City officials said the Seattle Police Department seized 187 fentanyl pills in 2018, 227,924 pills in 2019, and already 41,000 pills in 2020.

The 700 naloxone kits will be distributed at city convened trainings throughout Seattle.

City officials says Seattle Public Schools will receive a training to ensure all 90 nurses are fully trained to administer naloxone.

>> Related: Seattle clubs get opioid overdose antidote

Each naloxone kit contains two doses of nasal spray.

Naloxone is also available to the public at certain pharmacies in Washington. Click here for more information.

The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Associated have all endorsed investment in and distribution of naloxone kits as an overdose reversal medication.

Click here to find resources on preventing opioid overdose.