In the wake of a worldwide increase in opioid overdose deaths, Eastern Idaho Public Health will hold a fentanyl town hall meeting in Idaho Falls on Tuesday.

Less than a week after Idaho Falls police seized nearly a million dollars worth of fentanyl from a Bonneville County man, Eastern Idaho Public Health announced it would host a town hall to raise public awareness of fentanyl’s deadly rise in the state.

The event will be co-hosted by Region 7 Behavioral Health Board.

The event will include a resource fair beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. that will feature representatives from Eastern Idaho Public Health, Center for Hope, Idaho Falls Fire Department and Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. 

It will take place at the Downtown Event Center in Idaho Falls. 480 Park Ave Idaho Falls, ID 83402

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin — two milligrams can be lethal.

The drug has increasingly found itself in the illegal drug market in the form of powders, nasal sprays and pressed pills. Due to its low manufacturing cost and high potency, it’s often disguised as other prescribed opioids or mixed with drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin — often unbeknownst to the user.

There were 152 deaths related to fentanyl in Idaho in 2021, making up 43% of overdose deaths in the state.

On June 27, Idaho Falls police conducted a traffic stop on a speeding car driven by 43-year-old Jason Hurley. Upon searching Hurley’s car and home, police found 7,000 counterfeit fentanyl pills. They also discovered methamphetamine and heroin. The heroin was laced with fentanyl.

Further searches of Hurley’s storage units lead to the discovery of a total of 73,000 fentanyl pills.

Governor Brad Little convened a roundtable of legislators and law enforcement officials last week that discussed the deployment of Idaho State Police troopers to the Mexico-U.S. border in May and June. Little sent troopers there to support Texas law enforcement in drug interdiction and to educate them on drug concealment, enforcement and SWAT techniques. 

Returned troopers have already conducted training with 30 other police officers across the state on advanced drug concealment techniques.