MISSOULA - We know the drug fentanyl is dangerous -- and deadly. But it’s not just the user who is at risk.
So are the law enforcement, medical professionals -- and even the crime lab scientists who are trying to get it off the streets.
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Since it takes just a small amount of fentanyl to cause an overdose, law enforcement, EMTs, and even crime lab scientists must take extra precautions, so they don't become victims of this powerful synthetic painkiller.
New canine officers are finding drugs being smuggled into Montana on the interstates and highways.
"Harry" recently detected 13 pounds of methamphetamine and 1,000 fentanyl pills in a car stopped on the interstate.
But even as law enforcement takes extra steps to protect themselves from this deadly drug, they are facing an uphill battle.
“There’s a cartel connection to the state of Montana by far. Law enforcement is aware of this, and it makes our job ever more dangerous,” noted Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Jay Nelson.
“We know that it’s becoming increasingly easy for your local dealer to make a direct and get a shipment of fentanyl coming up here,” added Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.
“There’s no more middleman in this drug trade which is an interesting wrinkle that’s just kind of developing," Knudsen continued.
Jill Valley takes a closer look at fentanyl's impact on the safety of law enforcement and others working to combat an ever-growing drug problem facing Montana during Wednesday’s MTN News.