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Community Conversations: The Escalating Threat of Fentanyl in North Idaho

by Coeur d'Alene Regional Chamber
| May 12, 2024 1:00 AM

Kootenai County, Idaho, may seem like a tranquil and idyllic locale, and in many ways, it is. But hidden in our community, there is a silent menace that is intruding more and more into our social fabric, one that has the potential to fray the foundations of our peaceful, family-friendly environment: Fentanyl.

Fentanyl has already caused tragic consequences for families in our community, and it is likely to affect you personally in one way or another in the coming years. Fentanyl is not just problematic; it is deadly, and the more you know, the better armed you will be to protect yourself and your family.

On May 16, 2024, at 3:30 in the afternoon, the Coeur d'Alene Regional Chamber, in partnership with Kootenai Health and North Idaho College,will host a free informational forum at North Idaho College on the threat of fentanyl in our community. 

This event is a must-attend forum for families, teens, educators, community leaders and businesses interested in protecting their loved ones and promoting the welfare of North Idaho. A fantastic line-up of experts, Josh Hurwit, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho, Retired Capt. John Kempf, Idaho State Police, Jeremy Hyle, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, Stanley Mortenson, Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney and Sam Abrahamson, Tribal Chief of Police will be there to educate our community on this escalating issue and answer questions.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is often misconceived as "just another drug" that might affect one segment of society. But that dramatically underestimates its danger. It is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Its origins are varied, with two primary sources: pharmaceutical fentanyl, prescribed for severe pain management and illegally manufactured fentanyl (IMF), clandestinely produced and distributed in illicit drug markets. 

It is the latter type that's increasingly responsible for fentanyl-related overdoses, stealthily added to other drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, or even to drugs that mimic pharmaceutical drugs.

But the problem is not just addiction. Unlike many street drugs, fentanyl is LETHAL at tiny doses; 2 milligrams, about the equivalent of two salt crystals, can be fatal. Did you know that you don’t even have to ingest fentanyl to suffer from its effects? Just touching it with your exposed skin can cause severe reactions.

The Silent Killer: How Pervasive is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is often incorporated into other pills disguised to look like legitimate pharmaceuticals or combined into colorful pills that look like candy. Fentanyl is cheap; street dealers of illegal fentanyl charge a measly $1 to $3 per pill, not hundreds of dollars, like some other drugs. Our children can get hold of fentanyl with pocket change. And the worst part: It is readily available. Our expert panelists will share exactly how it is being distributed and growing statistics on fentanyl-related overdoses.

Arming Yourself: What Can You Do?

Join us this Thursday, May 16 to learn more about this silent killer as well as steps you can take to help protect our families and our community. Please help us spread the word by sharing this invitation with your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Together, we can raise awareness that could help save lives in our community. RSVP: bit.ly/3QBQQKq

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This report is produced for the Coeur d'Alene Regional Chamber.