July 20, 2024

Fentanyl crisis: Buckeye acts to enforce drug laws, treat addiction

A screenshot advertising the portable MX908 for fentanyl detection [908devices.com]

Fentanyl is the deadliest substance in Arizona, with a 4,900% uptick in deaths since 2015, according to Maricopa County data. Efforts from mental and medical health agencies and law enforcement in Buckeye seek to address the fentanyl crisis in different ways.

Buckeye City Council on Tuesday unanimously took action to collect $243,587 from the Arizona Department of Public Safety for three MX908 mobile spectrometers. The handheld devices can detect even trace levels of fentanyl in a variety of forms.

DPS appropriated $3 million to disperse this fiscal year for fentanyl prosecution and testing, said DPS spokesman Bart Graves. The grant funds, limited because of a tight state budget, were awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

“The City of Buckeye Police Department seeks to remove dangerous and fatal substances from the community and the MX908 will aid in this endeavor,” the council meeting agenda said. “The MX908 will aid law enforcement personnel to quickly identify controlled substances without state laboratory resources.”

According to BPD Public Information Officer Carissa Planalp, the devices are currently “on the way” to the city for use. Two BPD investigators who are part of the Maricopa County Drug Suppression Task Force are already trained to use the devices and other officers will be trained as needed, she said.

A screenshot advertising the portable MX908 for fentanyl detection on 908devices.com

The fentanyl crisis

According to data from Maricopa County, fentanyl has surpassed methamphetamine as the deadliest drug in the state. Out of all substance-related deaths, 60% involve fentanyl and more than three people die every day in the county from fentanyl use. 

Michelle Garcia is the clinical manager for Community Medical Centers in Buckeye. The clinic provides a myriad of holistic services for people experiencing opioid use disorder including medication support, counseling, summer safety aid, prevention care and social resources. CMC today treats approximately 200 people daily at the Buckeye location where Garcia says that they have seen an increase in fentanyl use.

Garcia said her goal over the next eight weeks is to improve relations with the police department to help more clients access treatment services that provide help, hope and change. Addiction is a real disease that impacts many members of the community directly and indirectly, she said. While the issue can feel overwhelming, resources are available that can provide solutions for the root causes of addiction and support people impacted by substance use disorders and their families.

“We are seeing more and more [fentanyl] users, more and more overdoses,” Garcia said. “It’s making everyone aware of fentanyl — what it does and how it’s really hurting us. Guess what? There is hope for it. You are not alone, and we can help.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

InBuckeye Newsletter


Follow Us



Latest News