The Carson City Sheriff's Office has seen a significant increase in contacts with persons involving the possession of fentanyl powder, fentanyl pills, and victims of fentanyl overdoses, according to a news release from CCSO. In 2021, the sheriff's office reported 22 fentanyl-related incidents. In the first four months of 2022, the sheriff's office has encountered 10 reported drug incidents involving fentanyl, the release said. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It was initially designed for medical purposes to treat pain. However, due to its potency, it has been converted by members of drug cartels into an illegally distributed narcotic sold in all 50 states. Fentanyl can be lethal in doses as small as 2 milligrams. Drug dealers often combine fentanyl with other narcotics already known to be fatal in high amounts to increase the effects of the euphoria experienced. When combined with other narcotics, it can be disguised as any other illegally used narcotic, as well as marijuana sold on the black market. Fentanyl can also be used, similar as other narcotics, by oral consumption, inhaling, or injecting. It causes intense, short-term, temporary feelings of euphoria. However, the intentional or unintentional use of fentanyl can inhibit the normal respiratory function and reduce blood pressure. In lethal amounts, it can cause fainting, seizures, and even death. On April 6, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency saw a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass-overdose events involving three or more overdoses occurring close in time at the same location.
They report that there have been at least seven confirmed mass-overdose events across the United States in just the past two months, resulting in 58 overdoses and 29 overdose deaths. Locally, fentanyl-related activities have spiked within the Carson City area causing an elevated concern among first responders: • Dec. 22: A married couple, a 32-year-old male and a 29-year-old female, were discovered to be overdosing on fentanyl. The female was able to be revived. However, the male died due to the effects of the drug. • Feb. 2: A mother discovered her 28-year-old son as he suffered from the effects of fentanyl. The subject admitted to the sheriff's office he was using fentanyl. He could not walk independently and had to be transported to the Regional Medical Center by medics for evaluation. • Feb. 3: The sheriff's office discovered a 19-year-old male in possession of 14 "M30" blue pills of fentanyl. • March 11: A 24-year-old male driver was arrested on a warrant and found in possession of a jar with fentanyl residue. • March 17: A 19-year-old male was discovered overdosing on fentanyl. He was revived by the responding Carson City deputy but needed to be transported to the hospital by medics. • March 18: The Carson City Sheriff's Office responded to a 26-year-old female discovered by others dead in her apartment after overdosing on fentanyl. • April 20: A deputy conducted a traffic stop on a 35-year-old male driver whom the sheriff's office discovered to have 10 "M30" pills in possession. • April 21: 31-year-old male stopped for littering was discovered with less than a gram of fentanyl in his possession. Medics transported two officers affected during the male's arrest to the hospital for evaluation. • April 27: 33-year-old male was taken to jail on separate charges. Deputies located a folded piece of foil in his sock with fentanyl residue during processing. • April 27: A 42-year-old female was stopped for a traffic violation and discovered to have methamphetamine and heroin in her possession. After deputies arrested her, the female admitted having fentanyl hidden in her bra. The female was released from handcuffs, retrieved the narcotic, and turned it over to the arresting deputies. Sheriff Ken Furlong has grave concerns for everyone who is a victim of a fentanyl overdose, as well as the first responders who are encountering these events, the release said. It is critical that overdose victims and exposed persons receive immediate emergency medical care. Any delay in the treatment of an overdosed victim can result in irreparable medical conditions or even death. If you or anyone you know comes into contact with a substance or area potentially contaminated by fentanyl, call the Carson City Communications Center on a 911 line, or if not an emergency, call (775) 887-2677 (COPS). For information, contact Sgt. T.J. Boggan at the Carson City Sheriff's Office at 775-283-7888.