CLEVELAND — A new ad campaign targeted at drug users hopes to stop the rising number of deadly opioid overdoses from people who have ingested fentanyl-laced cocaine.
Cuyahoga County is ground zero for a string of deaths involving cocaine and fentanyl. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, nearly 60% of overdoses deaths can be contributed to cocaine or cocaine infused with fentanyl.
The ad campaign hopes to lower that number by using more than a dozen standard, as well as digital billboards that feature photos of everyday food items such as donuts, bottled water, pretzels or trail mix and the following phrase: "If these contain fentanyl, would you eat them? They don't. Your cocaine might."
The billboards also show a link to www.insideyourdrugs.com, a website that has information about drug treatment and addiction services.
Authorities said that a large percentage of people who have died from opioid-related deaths aren't opioid users, but instead, people who are using other drugs that are contaminated with fentanyl.
“Nobody should be using drugs like cocaine or heroin. Our office has filed a record number of drug indictments against the people who seek to profit from this epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “Yet we have to acknowledge the opioid crisis has set its sights on a new group of victims, those who use cocaine, with absolutely no idea that what they are about to take contains a deadly painkiller like fentanyl. Making the mistake of using cocaine should not result in a death sentence.”