COLORADO SPRINGS — Because of a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related overdoses, the US Drug Enforcement Agency issued a Public Safety Alert. In response to this, the US Attorney’s office for the District of Colorado and the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s office partnered with law enforcement agencies in Colorado Springs to address the fentanyl crisis.

The DEA Rocky Mountain Division special agent in charge, Brian Besser, said that 20 thousand pills was a massive drug haul two years ago.

“The Front Range Task Force with DEA has seized ten times this amount this week alone,” Besser said.

With the number in fentanyl overdose deaths more than doubling over the last couple of years, the DEA said they are baffled.

Graphic shows the different variations of fentanyl. Credit: Joe Swanson

“In the thirty years since I’ve been in law enforcement… I’ve never see anything like it,” Besser said.

Because of the spike, Besser said he’s hoping to get the word out and get the community involved.

“We’re learning how we can better combine resources, enforce multiple manpower to attack it holistically,” he said.

Some of those resources come in the form of education — which starts with demonstrating the impact of just one fentanyl pill.

“If you view this… bag full of bullets… any differently than this [bag full of fentanyl pills], then you are not understanding the gravity of this problem,” Besser said.

Besser demonstrates that each fentanyl pill is the equivalent of one life lost. Credit: Joe Swanson

The DEA said they’re going for a multi-faceted approach, aggressively conducting drug law enforcement investigations, while including the human element.

“There are folks who are struggling with substance abuse in the prisons of their own mind and of their own bodies and there’s stigma, there’s shame, they don’t know where to turn,” Besser said. “I want to be a part of that solution to help those folks who are struggling.”

Federal and local governments said they want to make sure the community also knows they are going to continue to do everything they can to slow the upward climb in cases.

“We’re working very hard,” said Colorado’s 4th Judicial District Attorney, Michael Allen, “hand in hand, both locally and federally, to make sure that we’re prosecuting appropriately, the people that are putting this kind of stuff out on our streets killing our kids, killing our friends, killing our neighbors.”