Bismarck and Mandan Police officers and Metro Area Ambulance personnel have responded to several overdoses that appear to be due to fentanyl-laced opiates. Fentanyl has become increasingly prevalent in the illicit drug supply chain both locally and across the country. Sometimes the presence of fentanyl is not known to the person purchasing the drugs.
The effects of fentanyl overdose are rapid and often deadly. Fentanyl is 30-50 times more powerful than heroin. A lethal dose of fentanyl can be as small as 2,000 micrograms which is equivalent to a few grains of sand. The United States is facing an unprecedented crisis of overdose deaths fueled by illegally manufactured fentanyl and our local communities are not immune. This is an epidemic of catastrophic proportion that affects everyone in some way.
In 2021, Bismarck Police responded to 134 overdoses which was an 81% increase over 2020. Nineteen (19) of those overdoses resulted in death. Narcan (Naloxone) was administered by officers 130 times. Preliminary numbers for 2022 show this trend increasing. Narcan is becoming less effective and often requires multiple doses. It is a temporary antidote and must be followed up with medical treatment.
If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, immediately call 911. DO NOT be afraid to seek help.
To all Bismarck-Mandan residents: we urge you to be vigilant and aware of the dangers of illicit drugs and counterfeit pills, and to take only medications prescribed by a medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Pills purchased outside of a licensed pharmacy are illegal, dangerous, and potentially lethal. If you know of friends or family who with struggle with substance abuse and addiction issues, help is available.
North Dakota Substance Abuse Treatment Programs: