Fentanyl threatening local communities

In a 72-hour span last week, Monroe Police responded to four overdose deaths believed to be related to fentanyl.

Monroe detectives are working to track down the source of the drugs. In the interim, MPD is warning the public of the deadly effects of this particular strain of the drug.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 107,375 people in the United States died of drug overdoses and drug poisonings in the 12-month period ending January 2022. A staggering 67 percent of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Some of these deaths were attributed to fentanyl mixed with other illicit drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine with many users unaware they were taking fentanyl.

Lincoln Parish is not immune to what has become a national epidemic.

“We are definitely seeing an uptick in fentanyl,” Sheriff Stephen Williams told the Lincoln Parish Journal. “The vast majority of what we’re seeing in Lincoln Parish has been fake pharmaceutical drugs containing fentanyl.”

“Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered,” says U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Anne Milgram. “Fentanyl is everywhere. From large metropolitan areas to rural America, no community is safe from this poison. We must take every opportunity to spread the word to prevent fentanyl-related overdose death and poisonings from claiming scores of American lives every day.”

The DEA says fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin.

Two types of fentanyl are abused: pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicit fentanyl. Pharmaceutical fentanyl can be acquired by theft or fraud. Drug cartels make and supply illicit fentanyl either as a standalone substance, as an additive placed in other r dangerous street drugs, or as substitutes for these drugs. Illicit fentanyl is purposely and deceptively added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, making drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more dangerous.

Only two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose; it is especially dangerous for someone who does not have a tolerance to opioids.

“It’s very scary stuff,” Williams said, since fentanyl can be incorporated into other illegal drugs and the user has no hint of its presence.

Tips about fentanyl dealers can be forwarded to the Lincoln Parish Narcotics Enforcement Team by calling Crime Stoppers at 318-255-1111. Callers remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward if the information given leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment.

Both the CDC and DEA websites give more information on the dangers of fentanyl.