WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says fentanyl has been on the rise in the area for years now, and he is working to get the message out with a “One Pill Can Kill” campaign.

On Monday, Easter joined KSN News to talk about the problem.

“We’ve had fentanyl here since about 2018, but not at the levels that we’re seeing it now,” he said. “In 2021, we had about … 263 overdose deaths, 141 of those, I believe, was fentanyl. So, that means it was on the rise.

“This year here, it’s absolutely on the rise and especially with teens. We’ve had several teen overdoses that we suspect their deaths was from fentanyl. And so, it’s here, and we have got to do a better job of educating on it and educating parents and parents getting involved in their children’s lives.”

DEA website on One Pill Can Kill | KSN.com coverage on One Pill Can Kill

“Between the Wichita Police Department and the sheriff’s office, we are seizing a lot of fentanyl pills and some bricks of fentanyl,” the sheriff said.

He said many people do not know they are taking fentanyl.

“Most kids will take some type of opiate — a Percocet pill or Lortab. Well, that’s how this stuff is now coming in because it’s all laced with Percocet, with Lortabs, and now we’re seeing it with Adderall,” he said. “Kids might not even know what they’re taking. And the fact of the matter is, it’s $8 a pill. It’s very cheap, and kids are getting ahold of these fake Percocet pills that are laced with fentanyl, and it’s very, very deadly.”

Facts about counterfeit pills

  • Criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills and falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive the American public.
  • Counterfeit pills are easy to purchase, widely available, often contain fentanyl or methamphetamine, and can be deadly.
  • Fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including minors.
  • Many counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®).

“We’ve just got to get ahead of this thing,” Easter said. “‘Cause we haven’t done a good job of that before with other drug issues that we’ve had in this community.”