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SAMHSA Announces Winners of FentAlert Challenge During Launch of National Prevention Week

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Today, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the winners of the FentAlert Challenge, which sought innovative ideas from U.S. youth, aged 14-18, to develop a community strategy to educate their peers about fentanyl and fake pills ― and prevent drug overdose deaths. The Challenge supports primary prevention efforts prioritized in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Overdose Prevention Strategy, a key element of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Unity Agenda’s focus on beating the opioid crisis. The Challenge received almost 200 entries from across the country.

The announcement launched National Prevention Week (NPW) (May 12-18), which celebrates the possibilities of prevention science and offers a platform to showcase substance use prevention activities across the country.

"It is incredibly appropriate that we launch National Prevention Week by lifting up youth voices and recognizing their work to raise awareness about the dangers of substance use and fake pills,” said Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. “We received almost 200 submissions to the FentAlert Challenge from young people across the country. They are outstanding examples of the life-saving role every person, regardless of age, can play in their communities to promote prevention.”

“The FentAlert Challenge is the first federal competition that raises voices of youth to engage their peers with messages that resonate. Congratulations to the winners of this year’s challenge,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA. “The Challenge and National Prevention Week support a key pillar of the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy by highlighting successes and providing resources for primary prevention activities in communities across the country.”

The U.S. is in the midst of an evolving overdose crisis, partially driven by a proliferation of fake pills that contain illicitly made fentanyl and other substances, like xylazine. Among adolescents age 10-19, monthly drug overdose deaths increased 109% from 2019 to 2021.

Substance use has never been riskier ― whether it’s someone’s first time using, or someone with substance use disorder.

Fentanyl, fake pills, and overdose are challenges that communities across the country are working hard to address. For the first time, SAMHSA’s FentAlert Challenge offers a springboard for youth to start and help drive the conversation in their own community. The Challenge offers a bottom-up, peer-led approach ― with ideas not only for youth, but by youth.

The top 6 submissions will be awarded a $5,000 prize each, and up to 25 entries will receive a $2,000 honorable mention prize. The links to the top 6 videos are also featured on SAMHSA’s website.

During National Prevention Week, SAMHSA features resources for communities to engage in year-round prevention efforts. Assets include virtual events, an event planning toolkit, downloadable games and activities, and #MyPreventionStory, an opportunity for individuals and organizations to share a prevention story on social media.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at To learn how to get support for mental health, drug or alcohol issues, visit If you are ready to locate a treatment facility or provider, you can go directly to or call 800-662-HELP (4357).

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to lead public health and service delivery efforts that promote mental health, prevent substance misuse, and provide treatments and supports to foster recovery while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes.

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