CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — No cap, those pills are sus. On Thursday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police launched a unique public awareness campaign addressing the dangers of fentanyl-laced drugs, as the department reports a 20 percent increase in overdose deaths.

CMPD said their new campaign draws upon slang phrases like “no cap” and “sus” to target the message to younger folks and their families.

“The main goal is to prevent overdose deaths through education and to spark conversations within an impressionable audience that is unaware of the prevalence and risks of fentanyl-laced drugs. The social media hashtag for this campaign is #StreetPillsKill,” CMPD explained.

Just this year, CMPD has reported a 20 percent increase in confirmed fatal overdoses compared to this time in 2022, totaling 179 deaths.

Police said the majority of these deaths, roughly 60 percent, are those under 40-years-old.

CMPD said they continue to seize pills designed to look like common pharmaceutical drugs like Oxycodone, Percocet, or Xanax. They said these pills are actually laced with suspected fentanyl.

In 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported that out of all the fentanyl-laced prescription pills they analyzed, seven out of ten contained a potentially lethal dose.

“Only two milligrams of fentanyl are enough to cause a fatal overdose, an amount that can fit on the tip of a pencil,” CMPD explained. “This year, the DEA has seized a record 62 million fentanyl pills to date already exceeding last year’s total of 58 million pills.”

On Thursday, CMPD announced drop box locations where folks can safely dispose of drugs, without any repercussions:

  • CMPD headquarters, 601 East Trade Street
  • Matthews Police Department
  • UNC Charlotte Police Department
  • Local pharmacy locations
  • Full list here

“When folks turn their pills into us, we ask no questions. It’s completely anonymous. This is not something to get people in trouble, we just want to save lives,” Lieutenant Crum said Thursday.

So far in 2023, CMPD’s Vice Unit has seized approximately 75 pounds of suspected fentanyl.