Illegal Fentanyl pills.

Law enforcement personnel from across Eastern South Dakota and West Central Minnesota gathered in Watertown Thursday to learn more about the drug Fentanyl.

Pharmaceutical Fentanyl was first introduced in the early 1960s as a potent pain relief medication, especially for cancer patients. The synthetic opioid is 50- to 100-times stronger than morphine, according to health officials.

Illegally obtained or manufactured Fentanyl is responsible for thousands of drug overdose deaths in the United States each year. And while local officers aren’t seeing a lot of the drug, they want to be prepared, according to Codington County Sheriffs Chief Deputy Brent Solum.

Illegally produced Fentanyl can come either as a powder or pressed into pills. It is sold alone or in combination with other illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Common street names for the drug include Apache, China Girl, Dance Fever, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Jackpot, and Tango & Cash.

Solum said turnout for the three-hour training session was good.

The training session was held at the Codington County Extension Complex in West Watertown.