Central Oregon Daily▶️ Fentanyl awareness campaign visits local school with drug sniffing dog demo

▶️ Fentanyl awareness campaign visits local school with drug sniffing dog demo

▶️ Fentanyl awareness campaign visits local school with drug sniffing dog demo

Deschutes County is combatting the fentanyl crisis by raising awareness in local schools.

On Thursday, an entourage of people and a drug-sniffing dog who work on the front lines of the drug problem visited Cascades Academy in Tumalo.

The highlight of the presentation was a visit by K9 Bonny, a drug-sniffing springer spaniel who never stops moving until she finds a filter with an odor of fentanyl in a bookcase, not the actual drug itself.

RELATED: Deschutes County declares fentanyl state of emergency

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Then and only then does Bonny get her reward, a toy she proudly displays to everyone in the room.

“There are options out there. There is help for them or friends that may be suffering,” said Deputy Neil Marchington, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. “We talked about how dangerous some of the substances are particularly with the fentanyl epidemic with the massive amount of death we’ve experienced. It’s devastating watching somebody die right in front of you and trying to bring them back with Narcan.”

Four fentanyl-related deaths in a span of a few days earlier this year prompted the Deschutes County Commissioners to declare a state of emergency.

Statewide, more than one thousand deaths were attributed to drug overdoses last year, mostly from unregulated fentanyl manufactured overseas, shipped through Mexico, and distributed locally.

“They are not alone. The community is here to help them,” said Shawnda Jennings, Peer Support Outreach Specialist for Ideal Option. “There is recovery. There are treatment facilities. There are 12-step fellowships. Recovery is possible.” 

Jennings shared her lived experience as a drug addict, which she escaped with help from the organization she now represents. 

Deschutes County Sheriff’s detective sergeant Kent van der Kamp advised students not to accept any drugs offered to them on the street.

He said one dose of unregulated fentanyl can kill a healthy teenager.

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