The following is a news release from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.
IDAHO FALLS – Earlier this week, Idaho Gov. Brad Little met with Bonneville County Sheriff Samuel Hulse to discuss the increases in fentanyl-related overdoses in our area.
Since the beginning of this year, Bonneville County First Responders have responded to drug overdose calls on an average of at least once per day. Almost half of those calls have indications that fentanyl is present. Approximately one-third of these overdoses have resulted in death, two-thirds of which fentanyl was a suspected factor. These recent statistics are only based on the calls law enforcement and emergency medical services have responded to and may not be representative of other overdoses that were not reported.
Law Enforcement in Bonneville County has intercepted fentanyl-laced drugs and pills for several years, however so far this year the amount of suspected fentanyl pills seized by sheriff’s deputies and Idaho Falls police officers is approximately three times the amount seized in all of 2021. The danger in these pills and other illegal drugs laced with fentanyl is that users cannot tell if there is a lethal dose in what they are taking. With fentanyl, a lethal dose can be as small as a few grains of salt. In the cases of fatal overdoses, deputies suspect a user may assume the amount of fentanyl is spread evenly in what they are using at a non-lethal amount. By the time the user realizes the lethal content they are using, its too late.
On Wednesday, Sheriff Hulse and Gov. Little discussed this increase of fentanyl pills and other illegal drugs entering our community.
“Through our various investigations and seizures of illegal drugs, particularly fentanyl pills, indications point to a path starting somewhere south of the Mexican border,” said Sheriff Hulse. “We’ve commonly seen all of these illegal drugs make it to our area of Idaho from Mexico, but as of late, with the overloaded resources and lack of restrictions at the border, there seems to be a strong connection to this growing influx of fentanyl entering our communities, and it seems easier than ever for drug traffickers to get it here.”
Bonneville County is not the only area seeing this deadly increase, as news stories and Law Enforcement bulletins circulating the region indicate the same issues with similar fatal circumstances.
Sheriff Hulse said he appreciates Governor Little’s dedication to this issue, seeking input from communities around the state and getting a detailed picture of its impact. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to see “Operation Esto Perpetua” gather stakeholders from different cross-sections of Idaho to gather data and identify the impact to communities. The work of this task force will ultimately bring solutions for Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System to be more effective in intercepting these illegal drugs and holding these criminals accountable, whether it’s through local interdiction and education or partnerships with other states and agencies.
Like Law Enforcement everywhere, our deputies can see the victimization and destruction to families in our communities. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to do whatever we can to prevent this from ruining what we believe is the greatest place to live and raise a family, and we believe the vast majority of our community supports us in that mission.
We encourage anyone with knowledge of drug or criminal activity to report it immediately to our dispatch (208) 529-1200 or your local law enforcement. Tipsters can also send anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers or using the P3tips app on your mobile device. P3tips is available in the app store of your Apple or Android device.
There are many drug abuse and addiction resources available and easy to find by searching the internet. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office encourages those who need addiction help to step up, take back your life, and get the help you need. Our deputies are always available to point people to available resources.