Authorities in Minot are worried about the rise in the use and trade of narcotics and fake prescription drugs among young people.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health issued an alert concerning these fake prescription drugs.
The department said two out of five pills tested showed lethal amounts of fentanyl and methamphetamine.
That alert came after the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it had seized more than 10,000 fake opioid pills in North Dakota alone in the first eight months of the year.
“The Minot area does see that at an alarming rate. I know in 2021 alone, we’ve seized as many or more than that article indicates in the City of Lemmons,” said Sgt. Shane Johnson, of the Minot Police Department.
These drugs authorities believe are purchased via social media and E-commerce websites.
“You’re not going to find pills like that if you have a valid prescription and you’re obtaining them lawfully,” he said.
Johnson said the “real danger is to the end-user.”
More than 250 people have died from drug overdose since 2019 across the state-most of the deaths were recorded last year according to state data.
Manager of Prevention and Addiction Program and Policy at North Central Human Services Center, James Knopik says the state is addressing the increase in overdose deaths by making access to life-saving Narcan easy.
Knopik said there is help for those who require and want it.
“Anyone can seek assistance from an addiction treatment program or an opioid treatment program” that are available throughout the state.
The DEA disclosed last month that the agency had seized about 9.5 million counterfeit pills across the country this year alone.
This figure, the DEA said, is more than the previous two years combined.
The agency cautioned said a quantity as small as the tip of a pencil could be lethal.
Director of Ward County Human Services, Melissa Bliss says they are very worried about the impact and use among some younger children.
“It’s really hard to get out when you get in and so I think we continue to educate, which I think we’ve done a pretty good job of educating people but choices are still being made,” Bliss said.
She said some of those poor choices are among younger children who “are experimenting with drugs that are killing people.”
Authorities believe the Midwest has become a target for illicit drug dealers and that’s why they are stepping up efforts to ensure the Minot area does not become a haven.