Drugs in Dallas: More than 60 overdose deaths linked to fentanyl, DPD reports

The Dallas police chief says in the past year that his officers seized enough fentanyl to potentially kill thousands of people.

DPD has linked dozens of overdose deaths to the illicit substance that they're finding laced in other pills.

The department only just started investigating fentanyl overdoses last year.

Monday, police gave an update about the impact of the drug in Dallas at the request of the Public Safety Committee.

Last year, the department’s special investigations division assigned a detective to investigate overdoses linked to fentanyl. Since then, it found more than 60 accidental deaths involving controlled substances were linked to fentanyl. 

There are now two detectives in the division investigating these types of overdoses.

"It really wasn’t until the last few years that we’ve really seen it here," said Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia.

According to the DEA, it only takes two milligrams to make a fatal dose of fentanyl. 

So far this year, Dallas police seized nearly 4,000 grams. For perspective, one gram equals a thousand milligrams.

"The number of grams doesn’t sound very big," said Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn. "4,00 grams doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize it’s just two milligrams for a fatal dose."

Dallas Police Major Devon Palk says the majority of fentanyl they’re seeing is actually laced with other drugs and sold as something else, usually in the form of a blue pill.

Police say what they need right now are more resources.

Assistant Chief Michael Igo says that starts with making sure every officer is equipped with a lifesaving drug called Narcan.

"Where could we best invest the city’s dollars to walk the walk?" asked Councilmember Adam Bazaldua.

"Obviously, if we can put Narcan in officers’ hands," Igo said. "We do have it in some officers’ hands, but to have it in every officers’ hands would be a plus."

Police also say the court system is sending a strong message. 

"Twenty-to-life for killing someone by dealing them fentanyl. That’s one of the ways we are going to combat this," Palk said

But Major Palk acknowledged there’s only so much police can do on the enforcement side. He pointed toward public service announcements and education campaigns to make sure people understand how dangerous the drug can be.

"We need public health, we need our schools, all levels, its parents, teachers, coaches, everybody," he said.

City staff told council members there are things in the works that could speed up the process to get all officers Narcan, but a date was not set.