Placer County launches fentanyl poisoning awareness campaign


Educating teenagers, young adults and parents about the dangers of counterfeit prescription pills

Partners from government, law enforcement, education, health and nonprofit sectors in Placer County announced the launch of a fentanyl awareness campaign titled “1 Pill Can Kill Placer” to address the growing local and national fentanyl crisis and the “fentapill” counterfeit prescription pill epidemic , which is becoming a major challenge for the Placer County community.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is cheap to manufacture, difficult to detect, and extremely potent. Most illicit fentanyl is smuggled into the US from China and Mexico. Black market traders make fake fentanyl pills — or “fenta pills” — that look like Percocet, Oxycodone or Xanax and sell these pills to unsuspecting customers via social media and money transfer apps. Only 2 mg of fentanyl is required to be considered a lethal dose.

“It’s important that people are aware of the risks and that help is available.”

dr Rob Oldham, director of Placer County HHS

Placer County Deaths

In 2020, 24 Placer County residents died from fentanyl poisoning — almost half of them under the age of 25. Among them was 17-year-old Zach Didier, a student at Whitney High School in Rocklin. Zach bought what he believed to be a prescription Percocet through a drug dealer on the social media platform Snapchat. That one pill turned out to be a fenta pill. When Zach’s father found him in his room, he had already died of fentanyl poisoning.

“We need to talk about that. We need to talk about what’s happening,” said Zach’s parents, Chris and Laura Didier. “We can’t protect Zach right now, but hopefully we can protect someone else’s child.”

Inform & enlighten

The goal of the 1 Pill Can Kill Placer campaign is to inform and educate teenagers, young adults and parents about the dangers of obtaining prescription pills from anywhere other than a doctor or pharmacy. 1 Pill Can Kill Placer Uses Social Media; paid media advertising; and partnering with schools, community-based organizations and local businesses to spread awareness. Placer County also recently launched a new campaign website,, where young adults can learn how to spot counterfeit prescription pills and get support for anxiety and depression, common reasons for prescription drug abuse in young adults. Parents can also visit the site for information on how to talk to their teens about fake prescription pills and to learn more about local resources that can help with addiction treatment.

“One of the most difficult aspects is trying to destigmatize victims of fentanyl poisoning so that families can have these important conversations,” said Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire. “We can learn from these tragedies and try to prevent others by creating a safe space for information sharing and education about the problem.”

67 deaths since 2019

“The Placer County Sheriff’s Office has seen the devastating effects of fentanyl in the community. Since 2019, our coroners have treated at least 67 fentanyl overdose deaths. MPs continue to sweep fentanyl and fentanyl-laced drugs off the streets on a weekly basis while our detectives aggressively investigate who is responsible for distributing the deadly synthetic opiate to our citizens. The Sheriff’s Office remains committed to fighting the fentanyl epidemic through a variety of actions, including education and awareness-raising throughout the community and our schools,” said Sheriff Devon Bell.

“Educating our community is one of the most important things we can do, along with educating our students,” said Placer County Schools Superintendent Gayle Garbolino-Mojica. “Placer County schools have strong health education programs, but losing even one student is one too many. The 1 Pill Can Kill Placer campaign is a step in the right direction to educate our students about the dangers of fentanyl and substance abuse.”

“As we all work together to fight this scourge in our community, it’s important that people are aware of the risks and that help is available,” said Dr. Rob Oldham, director of Placer County Health and Human Services. “There are resources to help teens and young adults cope with stressors without turning to illegal pills; there are safe and effective treatments for substance use disorders; and there is support for parents who are having difficult conversations with their children. With this campaign, we hope families know they are not traveling alone.”

campaign partner

1 Pill Can Kill Placer is brought to you by partners throughout Placer County, including the Placer County Attorney’s Office, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the Placer County Department of Health and Human Services, the Placer County Department of Education, the Probation Service of Placer County, the Placer Community Foundation and the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Granite Wellness Centers, Raising Placer, Placer-Nevada Rx Drug Safety Coalition, Tahoe Truckee Future Without Drug Dependence, and the Gateway Mountain Center.

Important information for young people:

  • If the pill does not come from a pharmacy, assume that it is a fenta pill.
  • It only takes 2mg of fentanyl to be lethal – the equivalent of a few grains of sand.
  • Drug dealers target youth through social media and money transfer apps.
  • Find healthy outlets when you feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed or stressed. Talk to your parents, a teacher, school counselor, or healthcare professional.
    Important information for parents:
  • Be aware that fenta pills are on the market and readily available even if the intention is not to buy a fenta pill. Black market vape liquids, cannabis and other street drugs are also increasingly containing fentanyl to boost profits.
  • Talk to your children about boundaries when it comes to drugs and create a safe environment for them to talk to you.
  • Keep an eye out for changes in who your kids are talking to on social media and the apps they use regularly.
  • Consider keeping naloxone (antidote for opioid overdose or accidental poisoning) on ​​hand if you have opioids in your household that could be abused, or if you or someone you know is at risk of an opioid overdose or an could have fentanyl poisoning. Call 2-1-1 to find out how to safely and easily administer naloxone.

Visit for more information and resources about fentanyl poisoning and the risks associated with illicit prescription drug use.

April 30: Drug Delivery Event


Fentanyl Information Sheet (DEA)



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