Fentanyl continues to pose a threat to our community

It’s been almost a year since a 12-year-old Carlsbad boy tragically died of a fentanyl overdose. The boy was found in the backyard of a family member’s property, next to a warehouse. Several family members were criminally charged for their involvement in the circumstances that led to this tragedy and their court cases are still pending.

We wish we could report today that the fentanyl situation in Carlsbad has improved since then, but that is not the case at all. On the contrary, we can report that it remains an absolute priority and a situation in which the public’s help is very much (and desperately) needed. In fact, the Carlsbad Police Department has reported more fentanyl arrests already this year (through the end of August) than in 2021. Last week, a 17-year-old at Carlsbad High School overdosed on fentanyl, but his life was saved by emergency treatment.

Anonymous surveys show a steady increase in fentanyl use in recent years in middle and high school. This is certainly not a drug limited to our youth – members of the Carlsbad Police Department have made felony possession arrests of all ages.

In fact, Eddy County leads the state in fentanyl seizures, and we have for three years. That’s not on a per capita basis – officers here have seized more total volume of the drug than has been seized in larger cities like Las Cruces or Albuquerque.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that has been used in clinical settings since 1968. Drug experts report that the illegal use of fentanyl has virtually taken over the market due to its potency and relatively low price compared to other similar illegal drugs. . In addition, small amounts are mixed, often unpredictably, with other drugs, sometimes with fatal results. It is on the upper end of dangerous and deadly in every possible way you can measure an illegal drug.

While methamphetamines, the dominant illegal drug of choice a few years ago, were sometimes manufactured locally, the fentanyl trade is controlled almost exclusively through the international market. Most of the drugs cross the border, and cities like Las Cruces and Carlsbad act as distribution hubs. We seized a lot of fentanyl in Carlsbad, but never detected any local production attempts. Border security is undeniably deeply connected to the fentanyl crisis.

Education remains a vital issue. The Carlsbad Anti-Drug and Gang Coalition, as well as school resource officers from our police department and the Eddy County Sheriff’s Department, are actively working to restore education and awareness efforts. We have a great partnership with our school district. Some of these programs were eliminated during the COVID era. We are also adding more patrols focused on partying and drug use. Our Pecos Valley Narcotics Task Force, as mentioned, does an excellent job of finding and seizing fentanyl.

Our request to the public is no surprise. Continue to report any suspicious behavior to law enforcement as soon as possible. Our officers, agents, educators and others seeking to address this crisis are doing a great job – it’s just too big a job.

This article originally appeared in the Carlsbad Current-Argus: Fentanyl still a threat to our community

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