Community Drug Education Summit Aims to Combat Overdoses

Event will feature valuable resources from Clay County Sheriff’s Office and public health agencies

Amid an uptick in fatal and near-fatal overdoses linked to the recreational use of pills laced with fentanyl, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office is hosting a Community Drug Education Summit in partnership with the Kearney School District.

The summit will begin at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 in the auditorium at Kearney High School, 715 E. 19th St.

“The overdoses we’re seeing lately – especially among young people – are unacceptable,” Sheriff Will Akin said. “We want to do everything we can to educate our community about what’s happening, and how it can be prevented and treated.”

In addition to detectives from the Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Squad, the summit will feature addiction prevention and treatment resources from community partners like Tri-County Mental Health and Signature Psychiatric. New at this summit: a mother who lost her son to a fentanyl-laced pill will share her experience.

After the presentation portion, attendees will be invited to meet with detectives, deputies and treatment providers to ask questions or get help one-on-one.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a rare public alert in September 2021 about counterfeit prescription medications laced with fentanyl. In 2021, the DEA seized more than 20 million counterfeit pills, which was more than the last two years combined. These pills are widely available on social media and e-commerce platforms. Most concerning, the DEA found that 42% of pills seized (or 2 out of every 5) contain a lethal dose of fentanyl. These pills look like genuine prescription drugs and cannot be distinguished by appearance alone. Around the country, fentanyl also has been found in other illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.

In 2021, The Sheriff’s Office Drug Squad investigated more than a dozen overdose cases involving fentanyl-laced pills and nine deaths. They investigated just two overdose deaths in all of 2020.