SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) –Fentanyl use and distribution has been on the rise over the last three years across the United States and here in South Dakota.

Yesterday, KELOLAND reported that the Rapid City Police Department expects to break last year’s record for seizures. On the eastern side of the state… Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County are also seeing an increase.

“Five years ago we didn’t have any fentanyl or very little fentanyl and now it’s been a pretty steady increase,” said Sam Clemens, Information Officer SFPD.

From January to August of this year, the Sioux Falls Police Department has confiscated 812 grams of fentanyl. That’s up from 271 grams in 2020 and down from 1,730 grams in 2021 during that same time frame.

“All the fentanyl that we have been getting is fake or counterfeit pills, the blue M30 pills that is made to look like prescription drugs,” Clemens said.

Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, which has lead to a huge upsurge in overdoses in Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County.

“These are produced in clandestine labs in Mexico, they are not regulated, they are not exact, it’s not exact science, these are not just overdose deaths, they’re poisonings,” said Mike Milstead, Sheriff of Minnehaha County.

Darcy Jensen with Prairie View Prevention says she’s seen an increase in clients who have accidentally used the drug.

“People are buying things and they don’t realize that they are buying something laced with fentanyl or contains quite a bit of fentanyl,” Jensen said.

That’s why it’s so important for people to realize just how common it’s becoming in our area.

“Even a very small amount can have a significant impact on them, so if someone is thinking well if it’s just a little how would that hurt me? It can very much be a deadly experience because we don’t really know how potent or what exactly it is you’re getting,” Jensen said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says 42% of pills tested for fentanyl contained at least 2 mg of fentanyl, considered a potentially lethal dose.