Will Fentanyl Make Larger Impact in Benton County

Benton County has been lucky. As fentanyl has been sliding up the I-5 corridor by car, bus, plane, and mail to poison Oregonians, Benton County has seen only one seizure of the drug to date. That could change. 

In 2021, Multnomah County saw over 300,000 pills seized from 75 different people. In Klamath County, almost 250,000 pills were taken from six different sources. Lane County, over 55,000 pills from eight dealers and seven overdoses in seven days. The shocking thing is the numbers of pills that are coming into Oregon through so few hands. 

And that is a fraction of the total number of fentanyl pills making their way into Oregonian hands, as the police continue to try and disrupt supply lines before the powdered drug can be pressed into pill forms that look like legitimate drugs. 

According to the Oregonian, “fentanyl is expected to overtake methamphetamine-related prosecutions in Oregon” within the next year.  

Seizures of fentanyl have increased exponentially in Oregon between 2019 and 2021 after staying at nearly zero levels from 2016 through 2018, then increasing to over 100,000 at the start of 2019, jumping to almost 740,000 in 2020 and over 1.3 million by the start of 2021.  

While many believe that fentanyl is odorless, drug-sniffing dogs can be used to detect it and are training to work the border between the U.S. and Mexico – where much of the drug in the Pacific Northwest is coming from.  

What can we look for to help the police? On social media, if you see someone selling blues, buttons, boats, or M30s, they are likely dealing something that either is or has fentanyl – although people have been known to lace heroin and meth with fentanyl. If you warn the police, then you may be saving the lives of anyone who may take those pills thinking they’re in for a simple good time.  

By Sally K Lehman