GREAT FALLS - A public forum at the Great Falls Public Library on Wednesday looked at the dangers of fentanyl.
Law enforcement officers and emergency responders talked about what actions people can take to protect themselves — and the community — from fentanyl.
Fentanyl is an opioid pain drug that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
It is medically approved for managing severe and chronic pain.
But most cases of fentanyl deaths have been linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
Fentanyl is so potent and potentially lethal that first responders are cautioned to wear gloves to avoid touching the drug.
According to the Cascade City-County Health Department in Great Falls, more than 150 opioid overdoses have occurred statewide so far this year.
The Great Falls Police Department says there were more than 1,000 total overdoses with 152 overdose deaths across Montana in 2022.
Most of those overdoses are believed to be related to opioids and fentanyl.
In Cascade County, there were 108 overdoses with 19 resulting in death.
The Substance Abuse Prevention Alliance alongside first responders answered questions from the public regarding the dangerous drug.
Many of the questions surrounded how to get fentanyl off the streets and the most effective ways of treating someone who is an addict.
There have been increasing concerns regarding fentanyl and methamphetamines spreading throughout Great Falls.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), deaths attributed to opioids rose from around 70,000 in 2020 to 80,800 in 2021.
Fentanyl was implicated in the majority of these deaths.