A month after his death, an autopsy report shows that the University of North Dakota student found unresponsive in a home near campus April 4 died from an overdose of powdered fentanyl.

Alex Davis, 22, of West St. Paul, is at least the third person in the Grand Forks area whose death is linked to the powerful whitish-brown synthetic drug.

Grand Forks police have issued multiple public warnings about the drug, which authorities say is 100 times stronger than morphine. In one online video, Cpl. Justin Holweger told residents that police have seen fentanyl orders being shipped through the Internet.

“There is no safe way to injest these synthetic compounds because, truly, when you’re ordering them from online or getting them from a drug dealer, you have no clue exactly of the purity of it; you don’t know what other chemicals may be caustic to you,” Holweger warned.

Fentanyl is an extremly potent opiate — often laced with heroin — that rapidly slows a person’s blood pressure and heart rate, which can lead to respiratory failure.

Davis, who was majoring in visual arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, was found unresponsive in a Grand Forks home when paramedics arrived to perform CPR. He later died at Altru Hospital.

An Oregon man, along with several others, is facing federal charges related to dealing fentanyl and other illict drugs. Brandon Hubbard, of Portland, is accused of providing large quantities of drugs to people in Grand Forks and across the U.S.

Hubbard admitted to a Homeland Security agent that he bought $1.5 million worth of fentanyl citrate in November and intended to sell it online, according to the criminal complaint.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.