(Boone, IA) -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Omaha, NE office is warning rural residents in the Midwest that fentanyl is not just a big city problem any more.
“We know from experience that drug trafficking and abuse isn’t limited to big cities and urban areas,” DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Justin C. King said. “The Omaha Division covers a vast amount of agricultural land. We want to reach all of the communities we serve by providing potentially lifesaving information to everyone and that includes the farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly every day.” He says complicating matters is that Narcan may not be as readily available in rural areas as in larger cities.
DEA representatives are taking that message to this weeks' Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. King says their goal is to raise awareness about the threat of fentanyl. Fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin, is potentially lethal at just two milligrams, small enough to fit on the tip of a sharpened pencil.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported more than 107,000 overdose deaths in 2021 with synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, serving as the primary driver behind the increase. DEA investigators are seizing fake pills, pills made to look like legitimate pharmaceuticals but laced with fentanyl, in large amounts across the DEA Omaha Division. DEA lab testing reveals that four out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose.
The DEA Omaha Division consists of five states, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota as well as counties in western Wisconsin and Illinois.