Evansville-Vanderburgh Co. Drug Task Force explains fentanyl surge
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - On Thursday, 14 News sat down with a sergeant on the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force to discuss the rise of fentanyl in the Tri-State.
“Five years ago, we were seizing heroin and sometimes finding fentanyl. Now, we are seizing fentanyl and sometimes finding heroin,” the sergeant said.
He said the escalation has been gradual.
“I don’t think it initially started out as people wanting fentanyl,” he explained. “I think it started out as - the nation has a problem with prescription drugs, namely pain pills.”
He said many people become addicted to pain pills, and their dependency leads them to things like heroin, which is cheaper and easier to find.
When fentanyl hit the scene, the market opened up again.
“It’s started to get to the point where fentanyl is actually cheaper to produce than it is heroin,” the sergeant said.
So it’s cheaper, easier to make, and still gets people high.
What’s more, fentanyl can be pressed to mimic prescription drugs.
On Monday, the task force carried out a pair of arrests on Bayard Park Drive where they found over 4,000 pills and a press.
“Really I think it’s mostly a way to throw off law enforcement,” the sergeant said. “They do that by saying, ‘Well, I’ve got a prescription for Xanax or whatever.’ I think that’s probably where it started.”
He said it’s led them to have to be more cautious about their investigations.
He said they’re careful to avoid touching anything because ingesting even small amounts can be fatal.
“Now we are finding out it’s actually being made in our city,” he said. “It’s not being made in Mexico or some foreign country and making its way over here.”
He said the recent spike in overdoses has led them to change their approach to drug charges.
It’s become increasingly common to seek murder charges if a dealer sells to someone who overdoses.
People who fear a loved one may be using drugs are encouraged to reach out for rehabilitation resources.
The state of Indiana has a page on its website that you can use to find help. Simply go to in.gov/recovery.
It is also perfectly legal to carry Narcan in the event that you witness an overdose. Locations that sell Narcan can be found on https://www.in.gov/health/overdose-prevention.
To report sales of narcotics, the Evansville police ask that you call (812) 436-7917 to speak with an officer or (812) 435-6194 to leave an anonymous tip.
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