- 60% of fentanyl pills sold on the streets contain a lethal dose.
- The latest development is the presence of Zylizine, a powerful sedative, laced in fentanyl pills and powders.
- The key to prevention starts at home, teaching children about fentanyl's gateway drug.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has emerged as the most significant drug threat in our community, with experts warning that 60% of fentanyl pills sold on the streets contain a lethal dose.
Even more alarming is the introduction of a new substance into these pills, making them even deadlier and resistant to Naloxone also known as Narcan, a life-saving antidote.
According to local law enforcement and health officials, fentanyl's devastating impact is on the rise. Lt. Matthew Ronk, the Director of the Brown County Drug Task Force, states, "I've never seen anything like this, and I thought it wasn't going to get worse after meth. I thought it wasn't going to get worse after heroin. I'm scared because I think it's going to get worse."
Brown County alone has witnessed 58 fentanyl overdose deaths since the beginning of 2023, and these numbers continue to climb.
The latest development is the presence of Zylizine, a powerful sedative, laced in fentanyl pills and powders.
According to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, previously, six out of ten fentanyl pills already contained a potentially lethal dose. With the addition of Zylizine, these drugs have become even more deadly. Lt. Ronk warns, "If six out of ten doesn't scare you, I envision a day where 10 out of 10 pills contain the potentially lethal dose."
Naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan, a medication designed to reverse opioid overdoses, can be a lifesaver when administered promptly. However, the introduction of xylazine into fentanyl pills renders Narcan ineffective.
Lt. Ronk explains, "If someone overdoses on fentanyl laced with Zylizine, it doesn't work."
Ronk also says this deadly combination is primarily profit-driven. Lt. Ronk suspects that it's easier for drug dealers to obtain Zylizine or its precursor chemicals than it is to acquire fentanyl itself.
In the battle against this growing crisis, prevention at home is crucial. Lt. Ronk shares the same message with his children, from the young to the adult, "Do not under any circumstances take a pill of any sort ever." He emphasizes the importance of knowing about gateway drugs, with smoking cigarettes being a significant concern as it can lead to more dangerous substances.
“I've given 100 presentations, and parents always ask what can I do,” he says.
“You know, a gateway drug. To me, the biggest one is smoking cigarettes, it's because if I smoke cigarettes, it's easy to smoke marijuana, it's easy to smoke, fentanyl, or in just some of the fumes. So I'm very, very strict with my kids, like how bad smoking is and because that's, that's a gateway drug.”