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Fentanyl Crisis in Eddy County

FNMD Headers EddyCoNews

It has been almost a year now since a 12-year-old boy in Carlsbad tragically died of a fentanyl overdose. The boy was found in the backyard of a family member’s property, next to a storage shed. Multiple family members were criminally charged for their part in the circumstances that led up to this tragedy, and their court cases are still pending. 

We wish that we could report today that the fentanyl situation in Carlsbad has since improved, but that is not at all the case. Instead, we can report that it remains an absolute priority and a situation in which the public’s assistance is greatly (and even desperately) needed. In fact, the Carlsbad Police Department has reported more fentanyl arrests already this year (by the end of August) than took place in 2021. Last week, a 17-year-old at Carlsbad High School overdosed on fentanyl, but his life was saved due to emergency treatment. 

Anonymous surveys indicate a steady increase in fentanyl use over the past few years at the high school and middle school. This is certainly not a drug limited to our youth – members of the Carlsbad Police Department have conducted felony possession arrests in all age brackets.

In fact, Eddy County leads the state in fentanyl seizure, and we have for three years now. That’s not at a per capita level – officers here have seized more total volume of the drug than has been seized in larger cities like Las Cruces or Albuquerque. 

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that has been used in clinical settings since 1968. Drug experts report that illegal use of fentanyl has virtually taken over the market due to its potency and relatively low price, as compared to other similar illegal drugs. Additionally, small amounts are mixed, often unpredictably, with other drugs, sometimes with deadly effect. It’s on the upper ends of dangerous and deadly in every possible way you can measure an illegal drug. 

While methamphetamines, the dominant illegal drug of choice a few years ago, were sometimes manufactured locally, the fentanyl trade is almost exclusively controlled through the international market. Most of the drugs come across the border, and cities such as Las Cruces and Carlsbad then serve as distribution hubs. We’ve seized a lot of fentanyl in Carlsbad, but we’ve never located any local manufacturing efforts. Border security is, undeniably, tied deeply in to the fentanyl crisis. 

Education remains a vital issue. Carlsbad’s Anti Drug and Gang coalition, as well as school resource officers from our police department and the Eddy County Sheriff’s Department, are actively working to restore educational and outreach efforts. We have a great partnership with our school district. Some of these programs went defunct during the COVID era. We are also adding more patrols that focus on parties and drug use.  Our Pecos Valley Drug task force is, as reported, doing an excellent job of finding and seizing fentanyl. 

Our request to the public isn’t a surprise. Please continue to report any suspicious behavior to law enforcement as quickly as possible. Our officers, agents, educators and others seeking to address this crisis are doing an excellent job – it’s just a very large task. 

Sincerely,

Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway,

Police Chief Shane Skinner,

Public Information Officer Kyle Marksteiner,

 

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