Opioid Abuse Making a “Resurgence” in Dickinson

It's a problem that's on the rise again – opioids – in particular fentanyl. And, in Dickinson, the police department is putting the community on notice that it’s made its way back. Sometimes it can be a moment in the mirror when someone can win or lose the fight against addiction. It can all start as a pill to relieve pain, but far too often it becomes something that can induce pleasure.

"Opioids that you can be prescribed so the oxycodone and hydrocodone, they're actually more addictive than heroin," said Katie Palmer, Pharmacy Director at CHI St. Alexius Health in Dickinson.

Palmer knows all too well the depths and dangers of opioid abuse.

"Overtime people become addicted," Palmer said. "They love the feeling in the way the medication makes them feel. Because of that they continue to take higher and higher doses putting themselves at greater risk.

North Dakota implemented a prescription drug monitoring program that allows for hospitals to know what prescriptions have been filled across the state. This helps, medical professionals, like Palmer to know who is trying to abuse painkillers.

"If that's the case then we do our best to assess what can we do to help that patient in this situation," she said.  Can we provide counseling? Can we provide some type of psychological evaluation."

Speaking of help, the Dickinson Police Department is asking for the public's assistance to combat a "resurgence in opioid related overdoses within the past few weeks."

But, in this case, it's Fentanyl, similar to morphine, but up to 100 times more potent.

"In terms of our area and community, we really have saw more of an impact here recently," said Sgt. Kylan Klauzer, Dickinson PD. Sgt. Klauzer says it's becoming even scarier because of the hands it can end up in.

"On top of that, information that had us believing that there might be our youth may be being targeted with this as well," he said. Sgt. Klauzer says the police department will crack down on drug dealers, but he knows for those addicted, incarceration is not the answer. According to the CDC, more than 40 people die every day from overdoes, involving prescription opioids.

Ray Strickland Reporting