Fentanyl risks in South Dakota create need for awareness

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 9:46 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - You may have heard more PSAs recently about Fentanyl. The deadly synthetic opioid has been a cause of concern for officials.

Fentanyl can kill with a dosage small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil and it’s made its way to South Dakota. The rise in circulation and deaths caused by fentanyl is closely monitored by the state and federal government. Minnehaha county sheriff, Mike Milstead has recently been working with the state and the DEA to do PSAs like “One Pill Can Kill” to raise awareness about the dangers of the drug.

“We’re working hard to get the message out to people in our community that fentanyl is here, it’s deadly, it’s dangerous,” said Milstead. “It’s extremely dangerous in our community and it’s out on the street.”

Locally, close to fifty percent of overdose deaths are from fentanyl. The South Dakota Department of Social Services said that in 2021, over a quarter of all drug-related deaths in the state were due to fentanyl and numbers have been steadily increasing since.

“It’s killing our citizens and it’s at unprecedented levels and we have to address it’” said Milstead. “We have to address it on the treatment side. We have to address it on the prevention side with PSAs and trying to get the word out to the public. We have to address it on the enforcement side.”

Milstead says that in order for us to turn the corner and combat fentanyl issues, the U.S. needs to secure the southern border to prevent the drug from entering our communities. Fentanyl seizures at the border increased by more than 200 percent in 2022. One of the ways that fentanyl is being used is in counterfeit pills.

“If you’re trying to take a pill that doesn’t come from the pharmacy that wasn’t prescribed by your doctor, you very likely will be running into one of these pills that is killing our residents,” warned Milstead.

The U.S. DEA Laboratory has found that, of the counterfeit pills analyzed in 2022, six out of ten contained a lethal amount of fentanyl. Because of the community impact, the sheriff’s office maintains that they will be tough on drug dealers.

“I would send a slight warning message to our local drug dealers who think that because it’s so cheap that this is a drug they can get rich on,” said Milstead. “This is a drug that may land them in prison for the rest of their life.”

Milstead urges anyone struggling with addiction or knows someone struggling with addiction to get help immediately, because it only takes one pill from the wrong source to kill. You can call 988 to learn more about services and resources in your area.