Over 15 million lethal fentanyl doses seized in Nebraska in 2022

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Omaha Division released shocking fentanyl seizure numbers Thursday.

The division, which oversees five states in the Midwest, said in a press release that investigators seized 4.8 million lethal doses of fentanyl in 2022.

“Whether it’s in a fake pill form or powder form, it’s incredibly lethal,” spokeswoman Emily Murray said.

Fentanyl is an incredibly dangerous drug often disguised as pain medication. As little as 2 milligrams, the size of a pencil tip, could lead to a lethal overdose.

“A lot of times, these are poisoning, where people don’t know what’s inside these pills,” Murray said. “We have these fake fentanyl pills that are made to look like legitimate prescription medications, so they’re made to look like an oxy or they’re made to look like a Xanax or Adderall.”

The Nebraska State Patrol seized almost 70 pounds of fentanyl this year. That’s 15 million lethal doses, which would be enough to kill every Nebraskan seven times over.

In 2021, the patrol only seized 25 pounds.

While authorities say fentanyl is tied with methamphetamine as the biggest drug threat in Nebraska, its users are not showing up in care centers.

“It still doesn’t reach the levels of alcohol and methamphetamine, so those are still the top two drugs of choice,” said Ryan Carruthers, CenterPointe’s chief clinical officer.

The DEA has several tips on how to avoid unknown fentanyl pills, such as being aware of where medications are coming from.

“The only prescription medication anyone should take is one specifically prescribed to them and then filled at a pharmacy,” Murray said. “Going online and using social media, you don’t know what you’re gonna get. More often than not, what you are going to get is a pill, a fake pill that has fentanyl in it.”

In an effort to crack down on the amount of fentanyl in the state, Crime Stoppers Omaha now offers $5,000 rewards to those whose anonymous tips leads to the arrest of a drug dealer.

Narcan spray, which counteracts the effects of an opiate overdose, is available over the counter at most pharmacies. Experts encourage having it if you or a loved one struggles with opioid use.

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