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Meth and Fentanyl on the Rise: A look at narcotics trends in Nebraska in 2020

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 5:59 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - An I-80 traffic stop near Overton, in Dawson County, lead a Nebraska State Trooper to 26 pounds of meth and a third of a pound of Fentanyl laced pills. It’s a seizure that reflects the same trends seen across the state in 2020, when meth and fentanyl seizures rising year after year.

In 2020, the Nebraska State Patrol seized 164 pounds of meth and 7,600 units of opioids. The Nebraska DEA office seized 421 pounds of meth and more than 2.5 kilograms of fentanyl, which is 1.5 million lethal doses.

“The equivalent of three grains of salt is a lethal dose of fentanyl,” Nebraska State Patrol Lt. Darin Thimmish said.

Thimmish said while the pandemic changed a lot about the way Nebraskans lived their lives in 2020, it didn’t change the Nebraska State Patrol’s focus on getting narcotics off the street.

“From theft to homicide to everything in between can be attributed to drugs, the demand for drugs and the use of drugs,” Thimmish said. “It’s critically important we focus our efforts on removing these dangerous drugs.”

Assistant Special Agent Darin Thimmish with the DEA based in Nebraska said the pandemic did mean there were at times less meth and fentanyl in Nebraska, but that allowed them to focus more on the drugs that were in the state, allowing for them to do more seizures. Meth seizures rose 68% in 2020.

“It makes a huge impact,” Thimmish said. “Every ounce or gram you don’t let get on the street., you’re not letting it get in somebody’s body, you’re making an impact on saving one person, one life, one at a time.”

Thimmish said as time has gone by the pandemic has had a smaller impact on the amount of drugs and they are on the rise again, especially since Nebraska not only has a market of drug users, but also because of major corridors like I-80 and I-29.

He said more needs to be done than simply seize the drugs.

“Its going to continue,” Thimmish said. “We’re doing our best to fight the poison coming in but they’re goig to continue to traffic them because there will continue to be a consumer base. We can’t enforce our way out of this. We need to see more treatment, more education.”

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