This dangerous killer has swept the nation and one by one affected communities across the country


(WTRF) – It’s both powerful and extremely addicting. This synthetic opioid is the leading cause of overdose death in the United States and continues to plague West Virginia since their recovery.

Fentanyl is up to 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed and approved to treat severe pain. However, the upsurge in fentanyl-related overdoses is generally linked to the manufacturers of the illegal drugs.

Director of Outpatient Services at Northwood Health Systems, Jeremy Sagun says they are seeing the impact of this dangerous drug right here in Wheeling.

“It was created in the 1960s as a pain reliever and quickly it was identified as the strongest pain reliever at the time. It can easily cause raspy depression and overdose and it usually happens in two ways. Sometimes we will see people who are unaware that they are buying and using fentanyl.

Jeremy Sagun, Director of Outpatient Services at Northwood Health Systems

He says it is often mixed with other drugs like heroin and / or cocaine. But what is being done to put an end to this deadly drug?

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld is taking on an additional role that will help further tackle the drug epidemic in the Northern District of West Virginia.

“I was elected director or chairman of the board of the Appalachia HIDTA and it is an organization that oversees forty-eight anti-drug working groups throughout the Appalachian region.”

William Ihlenfeld, American Attorney

Ihlenfeld to lead regional drug control efforts

In 2021, the organization seized 50.5 KG of fentanyl. He says much of it is from the southwest border and they will travel to Texas to further investigate.

“The more we can ban these drugs before they hit the streets of Wheeling or Moundsville or anywhere else in the region, the better our chances of saving lives.”

William Ihlenfeld, American Attorney

He says that this public health problem must be solved and looks forward to participating in its realization.


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