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Fentanyl is the leading cause of death in minors in Pima County

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Posted at 6:36 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 11:17:39-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Col. Heston Silbet's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

There have been 409 opioid overdoses in Pima County, so far this year and more than half have been fentanyl-related, according to the Pima County Health Department.

The synthetic opioid is now also the leading cause of death in amongst Pima County teenagers.

Day in and day out, state troopers are stopping people from crossing those dangerous drugs into Arizona.

“It’s been significant. Just in the last month we’ve probably been in the neighborhood of close to 100 pounds,” said Col. Heston Silbert, director of DPS.

He said he thinks fentanyl is the most dangerous drug to enter our country.

“I’d have to believe that any apprehension we make—that dent has an impact to the betterment of somebody’s life somewhere,“ he explained.

While the drug is making it into the hands of everyone, twenty and thirty-year-olds are also impacted the most in Pima County.

However, the county said 19 people, 19 and younger have died from fentanyl, so far this year. That’s out of 239 total fentanyl deaths.

"We're actually preparing a letter that will go out to parents in school districts to talk about exactly that. So that would be specific information about what to look forward these pills look like [and what] are the signs that your child or one of their friends may have some kind of involvement with these drugs," said Mark Person, Pima County Health Department.

While Person said the signs and the symptoms aren't really specific, parents can pay attention for changes in behavior.

The county offers free Narcan kits to those that need them.

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