Fentanyl suspected in 8 fatal overdoses over 9 days

Eight people have died and 28 more are suspected to have overdosed from fentanyl in Montana since Jan. 11, according to Montana officials. 

Authorities report a recent spike in fentanyl overdoses around the state, according to an alert this week from the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation shared by local law enforcement agencies. 

The eight deaths were part of 36 total overdoses, and many of the people told officials they had taken fentanyl before their overdose. Overdoses happened in counties scattered across Montana, including Missoula, Lake, Flathead and Ravalli. 

Four members of the far-right group, the Oath Keepers, have been convicted of seditious conspiracy in the deadly Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol in 2021.

On Tuesday, Montana Department of Justice Spokesperson Emilee Cantrell said officials initially reported five fatalities, but as of Jan. 20, that number had increased to eight. There were 28 non-fatal suspected fentanyl overdoses in the same period. 

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The deaths happened in Choteau, Custer, Missoula, Sheridan, Silver Bow and Yellowstone counties. Two deaths happened in Lewis and Clark County, Cantrell said. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic, fast-acting opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than

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