Emily’s Hope working to distribute Narcan, fentanyl test strips across Sioux Falls

Law enforcement agencies say the fentanyl epidemic in and around Sioux Falls is getting worse. One local organization is working to distribute resources to combat it.

One pill can kill. It’s a message law enforcement and community activists have firmly repeated.

But according to Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum and Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead, fentanyl overdoses, deaths and seizures have all continued to climb in the city’s metropolitan area.

“We are seizing record amounts of fentanyl with the Sioux Falls Drug Area Task Force, in cooperation with the DEA, and we have record amounts of overdoses,” Thum said during a Wednesday morning news conference. “2024 is not turning in a positive way. We’re on pace for record seizures and our deaths are up dramatically this year already.”

One Sioux Falls organization working to curb the impact of fentanyl overdoses is Emily’s Hope.

“Next week marks six years since I lost my daughter, Emily, age 21, to fentanyl poisoning. At that time, 72,000 people died in that year of what the CDC calls overdoses. That number, in 2023, went up to 112,000 people,” said Angela Kennecke, the organization’s head. “I feel like I’m just shouting from the rooftops about this issue, trying to save lives, and this epidemic keeps getting worse and worse.”