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Overdose spike brings concern over potent fentanyl

fentanyl map.jpg
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 12:16:42-05

BUTTE — A recent spike in emergency room visits concerning fentanyl overdose has prompted the justice department to warn local law enforcement about the presence of very potent fentanyl-laced pills circulating in several communities.

“You could be dead within a couple of minutes of infesting that drug and that’s what we want to get out to people so they have as much information as they can,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.

On Jan. 21, Butte law enforcement released a warning from the state that medical emergencies involving fentanyl spikes over the past 10 days in counties across the state including Cascade, Custer, Flathead, Gallatin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Ravalli as well as Butte-Silver Bow.

People are warned not to use any pill or prescription drug that has not been prescribed to them.

“You just don’t know what you’re getting, there’s no quality control, it’s all about making money, so we want people aware of it so they don’t accidentally overdose,” said Lester.

Butte organized a community action group last summer after a string of overdose deaths. This recent spike shows the problem is not going away and the fight must continue.

“It is so dark and so sinister. These people do not care about you, or they do not care about your family members all they care about is making money criminally,” said Father Patrick Beretta of the Community Action Group.

The action group is continuing a social media campaign targeting younger people about the dangers of fentanyl. They believe it’s making an impact.

“They have been viewed 400,000 times by users of platforms that is used by the younger generations,” said Beretta.

Police are warning people not to touch any unidentified pills because fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin and call the police if you find any pills you can’t identify.