Opiod Overdose Awareness event coming to Plainview on March 21

Plainview Family Pharmacy’s local pharmacist, Ashley Dendinger, has announced plans for a special presentation to a number of schools and communities in northeast Nebraska, to bring attention to opioid awareness in the area.

The program, dubbed, “Opioid Overdose Awareness,” will be a joint presentation by the Nebraska Pharmacists Association, Plainview Pharmacy, the Plainview Police Department, and the Nebraska State Patrol, along with a special guest speaker who was an overdose survivor.

On March 21 the presentation will be given in Plainview at two times – both in the Plainview High School auditorium: 2 p.m. for the 7-12 students at Plainview High, and at 7 p.m. for the public.
The program will center on the drug fentanyl, which has become increasingly used not only in stand-alone pills, but also mixed with other illegal drugs, and the administration of NARCAN, a specialty aid to counteract the effects of fentanyl.

Plainview Police Chief Kristy Hallock said that in the last seven months there have been traces of fentanyl found locally in Plainview, mainly when mixed with methamphetamine. Hallock said h 21 to show the evidence from the Plainview community of illicit drug use. 
While Hallock said she would like to bring some evidence as example to help educate the public, with the danger to the community, even the 

Fentanyl, said Dendinger, is a pharmaceutical opioid that was developed to be prescribed in small, controlled doses to help with patients experiencing pain, such as cancer patients. A prescribed patch can be worn for a controlled release of the drug to offset that pain.

However, in recent years, fentanyl has been taken by the illegal drug market and produced in strong pill or powder form as an illegal narcotic, and, most recently, has been mixed with other narcotics, sometimes without those taking the drugs realizing it has been done.

“What I want is people to know that you may not even know you’re taking it,” said Dendinger.
The local pharmacist’s drive to educate the public came from a tragic story involving her cousin, Joshua Wolfe, who died just from suspected exposure to fentanyl in May of last year.

Dendinger said her cousin and another Nebraska man were at a wedding in Nashville, and were exposed to airborne fentanyl used, perhaps unknowingly, from a third person. Even that airborne amount was enough to send Wolfe and two others into an unresponsive state, which ended up taking the life of Wolfe and an Alberta, Canada man. The third received an administration of Naloxone, which counteracts the effect of an opioid overdose.

According to the National Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) more than 78 percent of overdoses in 2022 were linked to fentanyl use, and Dendinger said that a lot of illegal narcotics are being mixed with fentanyl, sometimes without users even knowing.

Dendinger said that methamphetamine and even marijuana are now often mixed with fentanyl to provide an extra high for users – but without exposure to opioids, most often a fatal overdose can be the result.

In a recent drug bust in Arizona, authorities captured 4.5 million fentanyl pills and 3,100 pounds of methamphetamine, among other illegal drugs in an estimated $13 million raid. 

From the CNN Story:
“The fentanyl seized represents more than 30 million potentially lethal doses,” the DEA said, announcing the seizure in partnership with the Tempe Police Department and Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid intended to help patients manage severe pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and typically prescribed in the form of skin patches or lozenges. But most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose, and death in the United States are linked to illegally made fentanyl, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The DEA and CDC have documented that 2 milligrams – about the amount of a grain of salt – has the potential to be lethal. The exposure can be through touch, ingestion or even inhalation, which is why it is causing such great concern.