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Pennington County sounds alarm about fentanyl surge

Pennington County Sheriff's Office

The attached audio is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment.

The Pennington County Sherriff’s Office reports an increase of the illegal street drug, fentanyl.

Tony Harrison is a captain with the office and a state trustee for the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police. He says Pennington County agents seized 12 grams of fentanyl in 2019. That jumped to 128 grams last year.

So far this year, the office has seized 937 grams of fentanyl.

Harrison says he's never seen something like this in his 25 years in law enforcement.

“It’s scary for us. And our community really needs to help us step up and help us against this horrible drug epidemic.”

Harrison says the problem is statewide.

“I Sioux Falls is dealing with it. I know Rapid City is dealing with it. And I will promise you, it’s in the Pierres, the Mobridges, and other places, and small towns – because it does trickle down to those smaller cities.”

Harrison says people who know someone in crisis should call the police, and there are protections for those who call for help.

People struggling with addiction can also call a national substance-abuse and mental-health hotline at 1-800-662-4357.