Mankato to host fentanyl awareness event

This Sunday, Aug. 21, will be the first National Fentanyl Poisoning and Prevention Day.
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 7:20 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2022 at 7:28 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The past couple of years have seen a dramatic uptick in deaths due to the drug fentanyl.

Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force Commander Jeff Wersal said that compared to this time last year, they are seeing fewer overdose deaths overall, but much more fentanyl in the community.

“Overdose death numbers are down from last year, which is good. Our overdose calls are still high. Our fentanyl seizures went from four to five fentanyl pills last year to over 2,000, almost 3,000 this year already, so fentanyl definitely is flooding the market,” Wersal said.

Kim Gustavson lost her son Travis due to a fentanyl overdose less than two years ago.

”It’s deadly, it’s devastating, you know. It took my son at 21 years old,” Gustavson said.

This Sunday, Aug. 21, will be the first National Fentanyl Poisoning and Prevention Day.

Teaming up with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force and area treatment centers, Gustavson will speak at Erlandson Park in Mankato about her family’s story and why community members should be mindful of the dangers of opioids.

“I need to spread that awareness so that everybody out there knows what fentanyl is so that they can talk to their children. I need parents to come, so they can understand what fentanyl is and that it’s not going away. Our numbers last year were terribly high, over 100,000, and our numbers this year are going to be much, much more. So any awareness we can do to promote, so they understand it, I think will help to save lives,” said Gustavson.

The event will be held in Erlandson Park from 12-3 p.m. Sunday.

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