GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) – In a news conference Thursday, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said, Colorado needs more resources and harsher penalties to combat the rising threat of fentanyl.

Weiser says, Colorado recorded it’s highest number of overdose deaths ever in 2020 with more than 1,400 and this year, the state is on pace to break that record. “We’re here to discuss a rising scourge in our communities which is fentanyl, its a deadly poison and it calls for action,” Weiser says, “Nation wide the recent statistics show a harrowing story.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a PSA in October warning Americans, especially parents of a frightening increase in the availability and lethalness of fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl.

But it’s not just fake prescriptions, deadly traces of fentanyl are also showing up in other common and legal drugs like marijuana, prescription Xanax, and in illegal drugs like heroine and cocaine.

A local drug awareness foundation says, just four grams of fentanyl could kill up to 2,000 people.

Deaths tied to fentanyl poisoning rose 50% from 2019 to 2020. Including many right here in the Grand Valley.

The Colorado General Attorney’s office is asking state legislators to give law enforcement more tools to fight the increase.

This includes investigating fentanyl trafficking rings, disrupting drug supply chains and educating the public in an effort to save lives.

KREX 5’s reporter, Austin Sack has been looking into this devastating development. He’ll have the story including one tragic ending here in the Grand Valley on Friday.