RAPID CITY, SD – A recent car accident involving a fentanyl overdose has drawn increasing attention to the growing amounts of fentanyl seizures and overdoses in Rapid City. The Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team (UNET), led by the South Dakota Criminal Investigation Division, includes members from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Rapid City Police Department, Highway Patrol of South Dakota and the South Dakota Criminal Investigation Division who are all working to dismantle fentanyl distribution groups.
What type of drug is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an opioid, and it’s a narcotic typically used to treat pain. However, it is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. “One pill might be fine. The next one you could literally die of,” says Sgt. Casey Kenrick, supervisor of the UNET.
Why are fentanyl overdoses so deadly?
Fentanyl binds to receptors in the brain, which prevents it from working properly. Certain parts of the brain also regulate functions such as blood pressure and breathing, and these can also be hampered. “Basically it tells your brain to forget to breathe and you choke on your lungs. That’s how you die from it. So that’s a pretty horrible way to do it,” said Sgt. said Kenrick.
How much fentanyl was seized in Rapid City?
Here is an overview of fentanyl seizures over the past three years. 1 gram of fentanyl is equivalent to approximately 10 tablets, and the amount seized is believed to be much lower than the amount distributed.
Where does counterfeit fentanyl come from?
Fentanyl is thought to be engineered in China, produced on a large scale in Mexico, and then smuggled into states like Arizona, where it is directed to other places like Rapid City. UNET traced local seizures in Rapid City to distributors in Mexico.
Which demographic is the hardest hit by fentanyl?
There is no particular group that is most susceptible to fentanyl overdoses. The drug can be disguised as a prescription pill or hidden in other substances, which makes it particularly dangerous. “WWe recovered methamphetamine mixed with fentanylcocaine mixed with fentanyl and in other areas they were even reporting marijuana being mixed with fentanyl. Another thing that has been huge over the past two years is counterfeit prescription pills,” explains the sergeant. Kenrick.
How do officers identify fentanyl on the street?
Usually they can’t. There are no field tests officers can use while on patrol, and fentanyl’s ability to pass through skin makes it particularly dangerous. It is sent to a laboratory for identification.
What is UNET doing to help?
The goal of UNET is to “identify, disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations” in the community. By investigating and intercepting fentanyl distributions, they work to prevent the counterfeit drug from getting into the hands of citizens. In cases where fentanyl abuse or overdose is observed, officers are equipped with Narcan to rescue the individual and refer them to addiction treatment resources.
What should I do if I suspect a fentanyl overdose?
If you or someone you know overdoses, authorities say it’s imperative to call 911. State law allows someone in need of help to call law enforcement. order without being charged with possession of the drug. As a sergeant. Kenrick explains, “If they call for help and cooperate with law enforcement once they get there, they’re immune to charges related to that specific overdose.