GORDON, Neb. -- Illicit drugs are the number one killer of Americans ages 18 to 45. Nebraska is not immune to that trend, including in Sheridan County, where Sheriff Jeff Brewer has noticed a concerning trend over the past five years—a dramatic increase in drugs.

“In 35 years I probably saw meth one or twice," Brewer said. "Now I'm seeing it almost on a weekly basis.”

Brewer said, lately around 80 percent of the people ending up in the Sheridan County jail have been arrested for drug-related crimes.

"Generally it’s another arrest," Brewer said. "We grab them, and they have meth on them, or they admit to using.”

Most of the arrests have involved meth, but Brewer said he has also seen more fentanyl. Just two milligrams of the synthetic opioid, which is small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil, can be deadly.

"We actually had fentanyl in our jail, and we do strip searches, so there’s only one way to get it in there,” Brewer said.

Because of the increase in drugs, the sheriff said he has also seen a rise in other crimes.

“It’s the other crimes that concern me,” Brewer said.

Such crimes have often involved weapons and high-speed chases.

“We are in a crisis mode right here,” Brewer said.