U.S. Attorney's Office: Heroin Epidemic Could Come To South Dakota
September 18 marks the start of National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.
Data from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention shows South Dakota has been largely unaffected by the opioid epidemic.
But since the start of 2016 law enforcement officials report at least ten South Dakotan deaths from opioid overdoses.
President Barack Obama proclaimed September 18 through September 24 National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week in response to what he says is a quadrupling of opioid deaths across the country since 1999.
Gregg Peterman, assistant U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, agrees that opioid abuse is no exaggeration.
“We are not immune from the situation in some of the larger urban areas around the country that have been seeing it for a long time, no, it’s now making its way here, just like methamphetamine started in the urban areas and made its way here to South Dakota so now is heroin and opioid abuse making its way to South Dakota,” says Peterman.
Peterman adds that every person has a role in ending drug abuse.
“We’ve all got to get together, sit down and do things like this, these public awareness campaigns, campaigns in the school and such which we hope will follow, campaigns in churches and other houses of worship to get the awareness out there to folks that this is deadly activity, this isn’t like anything we’ve seen before,” says Peterman.
The U.S. Attorney’s office is sponsoring a public film screening of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict. The film is set to air in Sioux Falls at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20, at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 21 in Rapid City and at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 22 in Pierre.
For more information on the film screenings click here.