Originally Published: November 17, 2018 5:43 p.m.
“A killer is stalking our community. It has many forms, and it doesn’t discriminate.”
Those were the words chosen to lead a flyer from the Prescott Valley Police Department in effort to get the word out about an upcoming community forum called “Overdose Epidemic.”
Scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at the Prescott Valley Library Auditorium, the “Overdose Epidemic” forum will address the recent reports of several different forms of fentanyl and other dangerous drugs circulating the area.
“Law enforcement agencies, PANT, and MATForce urge families to talk about the dangers of drug use,” PVPD said in a statement. “With fentanyl-laced pills available in the community, it is important that teens understand the life-threatening risk of sharing pills at parties and how experimenting with drugs can have fatal consequences.”
Aimed at helping everyone understand the facts, find help and learn how to protect themselves and their families, the forum will give community members a chance to hear from and have the opportunity to ask questions of local experts about the drugs. Panelists include:
• Chief Bryan Jerrell, Prescott Valley Police Department (PVPD)
• Sgt. Jeremy Martin, Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT)
• Director Leslie Horton, Yavapai County Health Services
• Director Merilee Fowler, MATForce
• Jill Martin, Parent/Community Member
• Deputy County Attorney Dana Owens, Yavapai County Attorney’s Office
• Superintendent Dan Streeter, Humboldt Unified School District
• Clinical Chief Officer Shawn Hatch, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic
• Members of Central Arizona Yavapai Fire & Medical Authority (CAFMA)
Fowler said the best way to make an impact with the community is using this forum as a platform to get people to understand the “importance of prevention.”
“It’s a really dangerous time to be dabbling in any drugs when people don’t know where it’s coming from,” Fowler said in an interview Saturday.
PVPD Deputy Chief James Edelstein mirrored Fowler’s comments with a few of his own.
“The information that will people will get at this forum will save someone’s life, right now,” Edelstein said Saturday. “I can’t overstate the importance of listening to the people at this forum.”
Drug activity in Yavapai County has increased in the last year, according to PVPD.
In the first half of 2018, there were 42 fatal overdoses related to drugs in the county. There were 49 in all of 2017. The PANT task force recently reported a 42 percent increase in fentanyl related arrests, and seizures compared to 2016 and 68 percent of PANT related arrests involving fentanyl were specifically mimic pills.
Those pills are labeled as a prescription drug to mask their illegal contents.
Area law enforcement agencies have investigated several cases of involving pills/tablets containing fentanyl. The drug is so dangerous that even a small amount can cause a person to overdose or die, according to a PVPD release.
The tablets encountered have no visible indication of content, and detectives also recently seized several capsules that are believed to contain fentanyl.
WANT TO ASK A QUESTION?
To be sure your questions are answered at the forum, PVPD asks the community to send them in advance to Support Services Supervisor James Risinger via email at email@example.com, or call 928-772-5166.
The Prescott Valley Library Auditorium is located at 7401 E. Civic Circle. The forum will be broadcast live on television on Cable One’s channel 56. A recording of the forum is scheduled to be posted for streaming on pvaz.net.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.
The Daily Courier is announcing today that we are donating $10,000 to Yavapai Silent Witness specifically earmarked to help take fentanyl dealers and their drugs off our streets.