Sheriff Talks Efforts To Tackle Heroin, Fentanyl Overdoses

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With heroin and fentanyl overdoses on the rise in Minnehaha County, deputies and police officers are using narcan two to five times per week. KELOLAND News has been following two high profile cases of alleged heroin dealers since mid-May. 23-year-old Devlin Tommeraasen and 37-year-old Maurice Cathey are in custody after appearing in federal court on Thursday. Authorities are linking them to two separate overdose deaths. 

Tommeraasen and Cathey both face federal charges for allegedly selling heroin. A federal judge called Tommeraasen a danger to the community. According to court papers, he sold heroin to a boyfriend and girlfriend. The 21-year-old woman overdosed and died. Cathey’s alleged heroin sales also led to an overdose death. 

“The terms low risk and drug offenders have been thrown around way too much. The reality of someone who is dealing, this person is; they’re high risk,” Sheriff Mike Milstead said. 

Milstead says his office is cracking down on opioid dealers. So far, 12 people in the county have overdosed and died just this year. 

“It’s so heart wrenching. It’s something you can’t even imagine,” Milstead said. 

Now there’s a new effort to save lives. Milstead says after deputies use narcan to save someone who is overdosing, they give the person an envelope full of information about treatment and resources. 

“We’re trying to save a life twice. We call it narcan plus,” Milstead said. 

Milstead says the number of overdose calls that come in is significant, and that’s why he says law enforcement in the area isn’t going to let up. 

“Number one, we’re after you if you’re dealing these drugs. Number two, somebody dies or gets injured on an overdose, we’re holding you responsible. And it’s going to cost you many years of your life,” Milstead said. 

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