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The Ellensburg Police Department issued a warning to the community over the insurgence of non-pharmaceutical opioid pills laced with Fentanyl in the community on Friday afternoon.

Within the city of Ellensburg alone there have been 20 calls for service for drug overdose so far this year, three just this past weekend. In eight of these incidents Narcan was administered by responding EPD officers along with other lifesaving efforts by EPD and Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue to revive these individuals.

The community has lost four people this year to overdose, three confirmed to be Fentanyl-related and one suspected to be Fentanyl-related. In 2019 there were two overdose deaths followed by four deaths in 2020.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid commonly mixed with recreational drugs like methamphetamine and heroin, it is also pressed into pills and being circulated as a street drug version of common counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs. The pill form of these drugs make it more attractive to first-time users, recreational users and those suffering from Substance Use Disorder. EPD officials want the community to be aware of these dangers and know there are resources available.

EPD officials stated in the department’s news release:

“The opioid epidemic has continued to plague our great community and our hearts are with all those who are affected by this epidemic. As a Law Enforcement agency we are responsible for the enforcement of laws and through our Anti-Crime Team we have aggressively pursued drug traffickers and street level dealers. In the past month alone we have arrested four suspects for a total of 18 delivery charges. We believe enforcement is only one of the tools used to combat the opioid epidemic, the others are education and the availability of local treatment resources. Our commitment in this area is ongoing through our partnership with Dr. David Douglas, who is an incredible resource for those who are wanting help for themselves or a loved one. If you or anyone you know is suffering from Substance Use Disorder, please reach out to the available resources or call us at 962-7280.”

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