FORT SMITH, Ark. — The City of Fort Smith is urging the public to be aware and cautious as fentanyl overdoses are on the rise in the area.
According to the statement, between the city police officers, EMS, firefighters and the individuals at the scene of an overdose, since 2021 there have been nearly 200 doses of Narcan administered. Of the 194 overdoses, officials say 66 of those were confirmed to be laced with fentanyl with another 33 cases where it was "possible" fentanyl was involved.
"Sadly, there have been a number of our friends, neighbors and loved ones who have died from fentanyl overdoses. It’s deadly, it’s here, and you need to be prepared," Fort Smith officials said in the statement.
Fort Smith EMS says since September 1st they’ve responded to 56 overdose incidents.. with people ranging in age from 18 to 45. According to the d-e-a – in a medical setting, fentanyl is typically used to treat patients with chronic or severe pain….however, the d-e-a says illegal fentanyl is being made in labs and smuggled into the u-s and distributed across the nation… and is often mixed with other drugs.
To put this into perspective – according to the d-e-a, 2 milligrams of fentanyl is considered a lethal dose…. that’s equal to 10-15 grains of table salt. This small amount could take your life.
Fort Smith police have now added proactive measures to their workforce by having every officer carry Narcan.
“We received a grant in 2021 that helped us to purchase Narcans so every officer can carry it. Officers have administered Narcan in line of duty for people who have overdosed and there’s no doubt that they saved these individuals life,” said Captain Parkinson.
The city goes on to state that the police department is working with local, state and federal law enforcement to prosecute drug dealers in the area. According to officials, four "local fentanyl dealers" have been indicted, with one of the suspects accused by Fort Smith as being "responsible for bringing over 36,000 fentanyl pills to Fort Smith in 2022."
The statement included a link to resources and information on the dangers of fentanyl, how to administer Narcan, and ways to talk to loved ones about the risks.
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