Opioid use rises locally

Daniel Biniecki, Managing Editor

Illegal use of opioids, including abuse or prescribed opioids has been a persistent problem in the United States in recent years, and Manhattan High School is no exception. Since Aug. 31, there have been four overdoses at the school and Riley County Police Department’s Detective Tanner Monroe and Detective Janelle Compagnone were among presenters at a public meeting at MHS about drug concerns on  

“In 2019 opioids were being laced strictly with heroin and were starting to get laced with pyrofentynol,” Monroe began. “Operation Chicago Connection took down a vast majority of heroin distributors in 2020.”

Monroe continued to explain “Dirty Thirties,” which is what they call these false opioids. 

“At first we didn’t know much about them,” Monroe continued. “There are a couple millimeters in diameter, they have an M with a box around it and on the back is a 30 with a line.” 

Many counterfit opioids are different shades of light blue, but manufacturers have started making them rainbow colored to resemble M&Ms, Smarties and Skittles to attract a younger audience. Monroe and Compagnone started getting tests back where they discovered the cause of overdoses were fentanyl poisoning. 

“These pills are not prescribed and are being manufactured south of the border and in China,” Monroe said. “They are pressed in a small lab and there’s not much science behind it.”

Monroe and Compagnone urge students to look for suspicious behavior and to report it immediately to them at the RCPD, Crime stoppers, or to Drug & Alcohol Coordinator, Kari Humes.

“You’re going to notice that after use people have agonal breathing, short heavy breaths, snoring, foaming from the mouth, nodding off and in the final stages respiratory arrest,” Monroe said.” 

Monroe explained that people who do use opioids build a tolerance for it and so it takes more and more opioid usage to retain the high you get when you use them, which can cause an overdose.

“It only takes a little fentanyl to have an overdose,” Monroe said.