By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado state leaders say they’re fighting against what they call a terrible enemy and deadly poison, and will persistently work to combat the fentanyl crisis.

“It is quite literally in every community and neighborhood around the state. If you are addicted to fentanyl or drugs, you have no more wiggle room. The time to act is now. This is an urgent issue, and you need to act today,” said Colonel Matthew Packard with Colorado State Patrol.

A drug crisis is currently plaguing the United States, with 107,000 lives lost in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s hitting us hard here in Colorado, and leaders say, frankly, they’re sick of it.

“Over 70% of opioid-related deaths can be contributed to illicit fentanyl,” said Keith Weis, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

(credit: CBS)

Colorado State Patrol reports seizing 225 pounds of fentanyl so far this year. Last year, it was 150 pounds in total.

“The only way we’re going to be successful in combating and oppressing this issue, is if everyone is truly engaged in the fight. This is not a drug that is made carefully. Its manufacturers are interested in being quick and efficient so they can make money off of your addiction,” said Packard.

“They are killing, they are literally killing the citizens of our state,” Cole Finegan, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado.

Historically, law enforcement can only get a percentage of drugs off the streets.

“We also recognize these lethal drugs are here and, sadly, we can’t stop all of them,” Lenny Corrollo, FBI Denver Division said.

“It’s a drop in the bucket and I don’t like to say that, but it’s the God’s honest truth,” said Packard.

Packard says there really isn’t one easy remedy to the problem; it is a shared responsibility.

“I think it’s collaborative law enforcement efforts, harm reduction, community engagement. It’s caring about your neighbor. It’s all of those things and the only way we’re going to be successful with this.”

There’s also a summit Thursday morning at the Denver Art Museum, co-sponsored by both the Adams County and Arapahoe County District Attorneys as they continue to work through strategies to tackle this issue.

Mekialaya White