Community Struggles with Answers After Fatal West Fargo Fentanyl Spill

Health officials say they are desperately seeking a solution but need the entire community needs to understand how dire the situation is

WEST FARGO, ND — West Fargo police are in the process of investigating after a fentanyl exposure kills one man and puts another in the hospital.

West Fargo officers arrived at 612 6th Street East in West Fargo just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Alexander Hirn, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene and another man was taken to the hospital.

Police officials say fumes from a fentanyl spill in the apartment overtook the two men.

“The focus on this point forward needs to be that this drug will overtake anybody regardless of age, or socio or economic status,” said interim West Fargo Police Chief Jerry Boyer.

Health officials say they are desperately seeking a solution but need the entire community needs to understand how dire the situation is.

“I wish I could stand here and tell loved ones and family members ‘call this number and you will immediately be hooked up with all the resources you need’,” said Ruth Roman, who is the director of Fargo Cass Public Health. “Unfortunately, we’re not there yet as a community.”

And it’s not just happening here.

President Trump has assigned a national task force to combat the rise of opioid and fentanyl overdose deaths across the nation.

But health officials say it has to begin with a community effort.

“Keep talking to each other, keep helping your friends, parents keep watch of your children, children keep talking to your parents,” said Roman.

With drugs like fentanyl, the user faces a higher risk of death because even a small amount can be deadly.

“Someone out on the street who buys some powder that maybe is fentanyl, they don’t know what it is and they try to figure out how much to take,” said Dr. John Baird with Fargo Cass Public Health. “It’s extremely dangerous.”

Despite the dangers of opioid use in the F-M area, one neighbor says he doesn’t see a need for concern.

“I’m not concerned,” said George Heiser of West Fargo. “I just think it’s one of those incidents that can happen and will happen anywhere.”

But Dr. Baird said ignoring the problem will make it worse.

“Were getting deaths,” he stressed. “We’ve had a number of deaths last year and they’re continuing this year.”

He said we can only hope to end the drug problem once and for all by taking one step at a time.

“It’s extremely unfortunate and it’s something we need to continue to address and people need to realize how dangerous these substances are,” explained Dr. Baird.

The West Fargo Police and Fire Department are still investigating the amount of fentanyl that the victims were exposed to.

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