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Montana continues to see record-breaking numbers of fentanyl seizures

Montana has seen a 20,000% increase in the drug since 2019, according to Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.
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Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 07, 2024

BOZEMAN — Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced a record-breaking year for fentanyl seizures in the state, and the Missouri River Drug Task Force says there is no end in sight.

"A single dose can be fatal, especially if you don't know what you're getting," says Missouri River Drug Task Force Commander Nate Kamerman.

Knudsen says there has been a 20,000% increase in fentanyl seizures in Montana since 2019. A total of 398,552 dosage units of fentanyl in Montana and a 111% increase in the total amount seized in 2022 with 188,823 dosage units seized.

Kamerman says the fentanyl is coming from Mexico.

"We have found links directly from the southern border to here. And oftentimes, yes, we know that cartel is involved directly in the manufacture of fentanyl," he says.

Kamerman says fentanyl is easily disguised.

"We are beginning to see it cut into other drugs as well, which is scary because you think you might have some cocaine, right? You know how much you can typically take on cocaine and be fine. And if there's fentanyl mixed in, that can be fatal," says Kamerman.

Captain Kamerman says Gallatin County is seeing a lot of fentanyl due to its growing population. On a positive note, he says Narcan, the nasal spray that can reverse the effects of fentanyl, is more readily available than in previous years.

"A lot of lives are being saved through that," he says.

However, according to the Attorney General, fentanyl overdoses continue to rise. The State Crime Lab has preliminarily reported 80 overdose deaths involving fentanyl in 2023. In 2017 there were just four. This number only reflects deaths that involve an autopsy.

AG Knudsen says, “Please, never take a pill that isn’t prescribed to you and talk to your children about the dangers of drugs. Just one pill can take a life.”