Fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses are an ongoing and worsening epidemic not only in Minnesota, but the rest of the country as well. CDC data shows 107,000 drug overdose deaths nationally for 2021. In Minnesota, drug overdose deaths and non- fatal overdoses have spiked significantly since 2019, and the increase in the presence of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a pain reliever and an anesthetic has been cited as a major reason for the increases.  KAUS News spoke with Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik, who stated that fentanyl has been prevalent in the county and elsewhere in southeastern Minnesota for some time, and he added that those that are bringing the drug into the county are constantly changing its forms that are being seen by law enforcement..

Sheriff Sandvik went on to state that those that abuse opioids can find themselves in a life-threatening situation when they use drugs laced with, or are pure fentanyl….

Sheriff Sandvik stated that The US Drug Enforcement Administration issued a recent alert about a new widespread threat of fentanyl being mixed with xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer that when combined with fentanyl is reportedly resistant to Narcan, a drug used to counteract the effects of fentanyl…

Sheriff Sandvik noted that his department is constantly working with state, regional and federal partners to stay on top of changing trends concerning the use of not only fentanyl, but other illicit drugs as well…

The US Drug Enforcement Agency has stated that fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as used for pain relief, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that more than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses between August 2021 and August 2022, with 66% of the deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.  Sheriff Sandvik added that if anyone sees or finds evidence of suspected crimes going on, they are reminded that tips can be given to law enforcement anonymously, if requested at (507) 437-9400.

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