Expert Panel, Film Screening, and Q&A to Highlight Free Community Discussion


If a killer were stalking your neighborhood, you’d want to know just what to look for and how to protect your family. Well, the biggest killer stalking American neighborhoods today is the synthetic opioid fentanyl, and the best way to combat it and potentially save lives is to arm yourself with knowledge about the deadly drug.   


In an effort to help the community better understand this crisis, a panel of experts will be holding a free fentanyl awareness event on Tuesday, June 18, from 5:30 p.m to 7 p.m. at the Moon Area High School Auditorium. It will include a film screening and expert panel discussion on the evolving drug landscape, the dangers of illicit fentanyl and fake pills, and how to keep loved ones safe. If you wish to attend, please RSVP here.


Found in nearly all street drugs, including cocaine and heroin, and in fake pills sold on social media and in communities nationwide, fentanyl is now involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any other cause, including heart disease, cancer, homicide, and suicide. Youth, in particular, have fallen prey to the deadly substance in record numbers. Of all teen drug deaths — which have surged 550% from 2018 to 2022 — a shocking 84% have involved fentanyl. 


“I don’t think most people understand how deadly and utterly devastating this crisis has become,” said Dr. Elizabeth Zona, a double-certified physician (Anesthesiology and Addiction Medicine) featured on the panel and in the film. “It’s one of this generation’s greatest threats. If we’re going to turn the tide, it’s critical that we have these conversations, not just within the community and through educational events like this, but also within our families and circles of friends.”


The 30-minute film is entitled The New Drug Talk and was produced by Song for Charlie, a national nonprofit based in California dedicated to spreading fentanyl awareness, in collaboration with the California Department of Health Care Services. Founded by Ed and Mary Ternan after losing their son Charlie to fentanyl poisoning in 2020, the organization aims to educate and protect young people from the dangers of self-medication through initiatives like New Drug Talk: Connect to Protect and National Fentanyl Awareness Day. Since its founding, Song for Charlie has reached millions through social media campaigns, presentations, events, and educational resources.  


After the film, Christina Julian, journalist and Song for Charlie Outreach Partner, will moderate a compelling panel and Q&A session featuring Dr. Zona, Laura Didier (Song for Charlie Outreach Coordinator and bereaved mother), Police Officer April Martin (grieving parent), and DEA Agent Daniel A. Mavromatis.


“I started to learn more about fentanyl after losing my son Jordan in 2020,” said Officer April Martin. “Our young people deal with a lot of pressures and may think about self-medicating with medications such as oxycodone, Percocet, Xanax, Ativan, etc. It is important that they understand that ‘one pill can kill.’ The risk of street pills being laced with fentanyl is extremely high. I believe awareness is the best way to fight this epidemic to ensure that no more lives are lost. Fake pills have been found in all 50 states and are the main reason fentanyl-involved deaths are the highest and fastest growing among youth.”


“Unfortunately, you can be the best parent in the world and they can be the best kid… and you can still lose them in an instant to fentanyl,” said Dr. Zona, who continuously sounds the alarm about the crisis on her TikTok account of over 31,000 followers (@addictiontokdok). “We have a big knowledge gap about how and where deadly drugs are reaching our kids. There may not be signs of a problem before the worst happens. Too many kids have made one single mistake and not survived it. We want to warn the kids what that mistake might look like in today’s world. Hopefully, we can save them, and save their families and communities from this devastating trend.”


For inquiries about the event, contact Dr. Elizabeth Zona at [email protected]


For information about Song for Charlie and The New Drug Talk contact Christina Julian at

[email protected] or 310-795-4293.