Partnership for Safe Medicines Statement on Fentanyl Awareness Day August 21st, 2022

Washington, D.C. (August 17, 2022) – Shabbir Imber Safdar, executive director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, issued the following statement in support of Voices for Awareness and their upcoming National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day on August 21, 2022.

“The Partnership for Safe Medicines is proud to support Voices for Awareness and Facing Fentanyl as they recognize a national day of remembrance and action to address the widespread threat of counterfeit drugs and illicit fentanyl poisoning. The organization’s co-founder, Andrea Thomas, lived through the unthinkable when she lost her daughter, Ashley, to fentanyl poisoning in 2018. Ashley took a pill she believed to be a prescription painkiller, but the counterfeit medication was laced with a deadly dose of fentanyl. Now, Andrea channels her grief to raise awareness and advocate for change to prevent other families from experiencing the same loss.

“Fake pills like the one that killed Ashley are all too common throughout the United States, and their production is, in part, fueled by the rise of illegal pill presses that are capable of making pills that look identical to prescription medications like Xanax, Adderall, oxycodone, and more. In 2019, with an update in 2021, PSM participated in a joint project with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators to publish a report on the overlooked threat of illegal pill presses. Additionally, PSM continues to track fentanyl deaths by state, and in September 2021, Hawaii became the 50th state to confirm a fatality from a counterfeit pill. An increasing share of these fakes are being bought and sold online via popular social media channels, claiming the lives of teens and young adults across the country. PSM remains committed to sharing information and resources about the dangers of buying illicit drugs on Snapchat and similar platforms.

“This August, as we recognize National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day, the Partnership for Safe Medicines stands beside Voices for Awareness and Facing Fentanyl in the fight to educate about the threat and help prevent further deaths from the fentanyl crisis. In order to adequately respond to this problem, Congress must fully fund interdiction and treatment efforts in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. Law enforcement agencies are already overwhelmed by the volume of counterfeits entering our communities. Efforts like those of Andrea Thomas and VFA’s network of grieving families are making an impact, but the problem requires greater attention and resources to save lives.”

About the Partnership for Safe Medicines

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) is a public health group comprised of non-profit organizations that handle medicine from the factory floor to the patient and are committed to the safety of prescription drugs. To learn more, visit

On National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day, PSM is sharing three things you can do right now to protect your family from fentanyl.

  1. Watch our playlist of short videos about fake pills made with fentanyl.
  2. Get naloxone, which reverses opioid overdoses, and teach your family to use it.
  3. Educate your family with another family's story about losing a loved one to fentanyl