By Melinda Munson

On Sunday, the Skagway Police Department “seized a large number of pills that is believed to be fentanyl.” The drug capture follows the death of two men, one on Friday night and one on Saturday afternoon, both suspected to be fentanyl overdoses. Their names have not yet been released.

The police credited help from the community in finding the pills. The anonymous tip line P3Tips continues to be available as the investigation proceeds. At this time, a suspect is not in custody.

The colorful pills, nicknamed rainbow fentanyl, are meant to appeal to younger ages. According to the Alaska Department of Health, “fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Illicit fentanyl is commonly mixed with other illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine or counterfeit pills made to look like prescription drugs. It comes in a variety of forms, including pills, powder, chunks or rocks and liquids.”

Police Chief Jerry Reddick advised anyone who finds suspicious materials to avoid contact and call 911. He reported it’s possible for fentanyl “micrograms to float in the air.”

Those who want to dispose of illicit drugs can use P3Tips to disclose the drugs’ location or bring them to the medication disposal box outside of the clinic or police station.

Skagway School is working with Reddick to organize a safety presentation for secondary students. A Public Safety Committee meeting will be held Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. at assembly chambers. Under new business, illicit drug mitigation efforts and NARCAN access and availability will be discussed.