A shocking increase in the seizure of illegal Fentanyl has occurred in the state of Montana in the last four years, upwards of 315 THOUSAND percent.

KGVO News spoke to Missoula Police Department Public Information Officer Lydia Arnold on Wednesday who provided the sobering statistics about Fentanyl.

“The Missoula Police Department wants our community to be educated about the dangers of fentanyl, and the presence of fentanyl in our community,” said Arnold. “By being educated and understanding the dangers you can help keep Missoula safe by reporting any suspicious or potential drug activity in your neighborhood. Like much of the United States, Montana has experienced a sharp increase in the prevalence of illegal counterfeit prescription pills containing the powerful synthetic opioid Fentanyl.”

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Arnold shared the nearly unbelievable increase of Fentanyl coming into Montana.

“According to Rocky Mountain HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area), the amount of Fentanyl seized by drug task force in Montana increased by 315,764% from 2017 to 2021. Fentanyl is a synthetic manmade opioid, and is 80 to 100 percent more powerful than morphine. According to the CDC, Fentanyl is now the leading cause of fatal drug overdoses in the United States.”

Arnold explained just how deadly even a very small dose of Fentanyl can be to a human being.

“As few as two milligrams of Fentanyl can cause a fatal overdose,” she said. “The testing of illegal counterfeit Fentanyl M30 pills has found as many as 5.1 milligrams in a single pill. Missoula police frequently encountered these pills in our community, often at the scene of fatal overdoses.”

Credit: Missoula Police Department
Credit: Missoula Police Department

She explained how the drugs are making their way primarily from the southern border into Montana.

“Organized criminal groups are manufacturing the pills commonly known as blues, Mexican oxy, and M30s, and trafficking them into communities across our state,” she said. “According to the Drug Enforcement Agency approximately four in 10 counterfeit pills contain a potentially fatal dose of Fentanyl. Please follow this link for more information.”

According to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, The Montana Department of Justice’s State Crime Lab reported 41 fentanyl-related deaths in 2020, up from 19 in 2019. Through May 2021, there were already 22 total confirmed fentanyl-related fatalities, including 11 statewide in April of 2021 alone.

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