After the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reported six suspected drug-related overdoses in a 36-hour period, the public is reminded of the ongoing risk fentanyl poses to the community, officials from the Southern Nevada Health District say.
The deaths were report between Sept. 25 to 27. According to Metro, four out of the six drug overdoses were preliminarily identified as fentanyl overdoses. Between January and July 2022, there were 110 fentanyl overdose deaths among Clark County residents. In 2021, there were a total of 225 fentanyl deaths; 191 deaths were reported in 2020.
“We want everyone to be aware that fentanyl is continuing to take a toll on community,” Dr. Fermin Leguen, district health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District, said in the release. “In addition to raising awareness about the risks of synthetic opioids, residents should know that there are resources available to them that can help prevent a fentanyl or opioid overdose.”
Local deaths from fentanyl
In Nye County, three men were arrested on murder charges in September following the overdose death of a Round Mountain man in 2021.
Skyler Marich, 25; Ryan Tibbetts, 38; Jimmie Nockideneh Jr., 30, all of Round Mountain, were allegedly involved in the distribution of narcotics to Riley Briseno, who was found non-responsive on March 21, 2021 after deputies responded to a home in Round Mountain, according to reports from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.
Briseno was transported to the hospital and ultimately died, according to reports from law enforcement.
“The cause of death was determined to be fentanyl overdose,” Capt. David Boruchowitz told the Times-Bonanza of the case. “NCSO detectives conducted an in-depth investigation and ultimately identified that Briseno had received narcotics laced with fentanyl.”
In April, three others were charged with murder in Nye County for the drug-related death of a Pahrump woman, who investigators say died from an overdose of fentanyl and oxycodone. Nevada law provides for murder charges when a person is involved in furnishing drugs that cause the death of another.
Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia told the Times-Bonanza in March that prosecuting those responsible for overdose deaths is about accountability.
“Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid much stronger than heroin and it’s showing up more and more in cases of overdoses and deaths in Nevada, and when people provide drugs or pills, nobody knows if there’s fentanyl in the mix,” Arabia said at the time. “One of the ways to fight the problem and protect our community is to hold the people responsible for the death, accountable for the death.”
Selwyn Harris contributed to this report.