WYOMING — Emergency responders are seeing a troubling increase in fentanyl overdoses around the state and fentanyl seizures by law enforcement have been rising steadily over the past two years, according to a statement from Governor Mark Gordon.

The governor and state leaders are reminding the public about the dangers of fentanyl which is a narcotic that has become increasingly prevalent across the U.S. Even small doses of the opioid can be lethal.

Governor Gordon’s office warned residents that fentanyl has shown up in Wyoming in both powder or a pill form, and it may be used to contaminate other illicit drugs without the user knowing.

“It’s going to take a coordinated approach to tackle this issue,”Governor Gordon said. “I am asking residents to educate themselves and understand how lethal and pervasive this drug is.”

Data from the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and Wyoming Department of Health show the increasing presence of fentanyl in Wyoming. In 2019 Wyoming had 17 reported synthetic opioid-involved overdose deaths among residents. In 2021 that number jumped to 42, and 17 deaths have been recorded in the first few months of 2022, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

DCI data shows that the number of fentanyl cases among all law-enforcement agencies more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, rising from 15 to 38. Since 2020, there has been a 200% increase in the number of items containing suspected fentanyl that have been analyzed by the State Crime Lab.

Law enforcement agencies and emergency medical service providers around the state are utilizing naloxone, a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. In addition, the Wyoming Department of Health has applied for the federal State Opioid Response Grant, which would include resources for naloxone distribution.

Residents can find more information on fentanyl from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Wyoming Department of Health.

Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She enjoys reading non-fiction, skiing, hiking, and playing piano in her downtime. Her favorite aspect about living in Jackson is the genuine admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.