Regional Narcotics Unit issues fentanyl warning

Truckee Meadows has recently experienced an increase in fentanyl related overdoses and overdose deaths of people believing they were using cocaine and/or methamphetamine, according to Regional Narcotics Unit detectives with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

While Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon said his office is not a part of the Regional Narcotics Unit, fentanyl poses risks for local residents.

“We’ve had three overdose deaths in the last month,” Growdon said. “We haven’t gotten toxicology results, but we suspect” fentanyl may have been involved. “It’s a problem statewide, and we really seeing it begin to push into the North State. Obviosly, it’s extremely dangerous, and we’re concerned about the public taking it knowingly or unknowingly through substances they don’t know have fentanyl in them.”

Growdon said the concerns include the public and his officers. He said deputies recently saved the life of at least one local overdose victim through the use of Narcan.

Growdon warned the public — “Fentanyl is extremely dangerous.”

RNU detectives, in partnership with all local law enforcement agencies, are diligently working on reducing this public safety threat by investigating these recent deaths, and by targeting individuals responsible for the distribution of fentanyl laced narcotics.

According to the WCSO statement, official data on those unknowingly being exposed to lethal doses of fentanyl are not yet available. According to the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, between January and September 2021 there were 201 drug-related deaths in Washoe County. Of those, 54 were fentanyl related. All data is still preliminary.

Regional law enforcement officers caution citizens about street drugs.  Prior warnings have advised citizens about the dangers of possibly purchasing and using counterfeit prescription medication.  Local law enforcement is now finding cocaine and methamphetamine laced with fentanyl as well as an increase in powdered fentanyl being sold on the street.

Anyone who uses drugs or has a loved one who is dealing with addiction, should keep naloxone medication on hand. Naloxone can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose and is available without a prescription at most drug stores in California and Nevada.