Abuse of lesser-known narcotic on the rise in Manitowoc County

CREATED Apr 23, 2014

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MANITOWOC - The Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department is warning about the dangers of a lesser-known narcotic pain medication and it said abuse of the drug is on the rise.  

"Fentanyl is a prescription medication, an opiate-based medication, that's normally prescribed for severe pain treatment," said Lieutenant Dave Remiker.  

Doctors said fentanyl is more potent than morphine and oxycodone. It comes in several forms, but the fentanyl patch seems to be the most commonly abused.  

"It's more common among your heroin addicts, or your more opiate-tolerant pain medication abusers," Remiker said.

There have been several recent deaths associated with fentanyl, including a man who died in February who had three times the therapeutic range of fentanyl in his system.

Fighting prescription drug abuse is a challenge for law enforcement officials.  

"It's very difficult," Remiker said. "It really just comes down to resources, it comes down to education, it comes down to community involvement and awareness."