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Gallatin County law enforcement responding to spike in fentanyl overdoses with education, outreach

Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 20:37:00-04

A rise in fentanyl in Montana is leading police departments to increase education efforts as well as enforcement in the community.

“We are seeing an increase. We are seeing an increase in overdoses,” says Ryan Stratman, Commander of the Missouri River Task Force.

The trend in the Bozeman area is to see fentanyl entering from other states.

“A lot of those things are coming from the south; they are coming from the west. I-90, Highway 191 are major trafficking areas where we are intercepting these things,” says Joseph Swanson, Patrol Captain with the Bozeman Police Department.

As the calls for overdose increase.

“Every officer is trained to use Narcan,” said Swanson.

Bozeman Fire and paramedics work in partnership with law enforcement.

“We are co-responding to overdoses as they occur and sometimes the officers can get there sooner, and exactly why we have Narcan available,” Swanson said.

An ever-evolving issue requires current and up-to-date understanding.

“I think education and awareness is increasing,” said Stratman.

Stratman says the annual drug take-back is a good way for the public to get rid of their old prescriptions.

“We allow for anybody in the public to bring unused prescriptions of any sort,” he said.

Bozeman Police school resource officers are involved in middle and high school awareness programs.

“Officers are doing drug education with a lot of the classrooms and just bringing awareness,” Swanson said.

Hoping that treatment can be an early intervention.

“There is only so much the officers can do on the street, but we are able to connect them with the folk who can help,” said Swanson.