U.S. law enforcement has seized more than enough fentanyl to kill all Americans in 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration said Tuesday, underscoring the deep threat posed by the deadly man-made opioid.
The DEA said it captured 50.6 million counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl and 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder during the year, calling it the equivalent of “more than 379 million potentially fatal doses.”
The DEA said fentanyl, which a decade ago caused only a fraction of overdose deaths, is now the “deadliest drug threat this country faces.”
“It’s a highly addictive man-made opioid that’s 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially lethal dose,” it said.
According to official figures, it was the main reason for the more than 107,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States from July 2021 to June 2022.
Because of its low price and relative ease of manufacture, fentanyl has supplanted prescription opioids and heroin in the illicit drug market.
The DEA said the main sources of fentanyl in the United States are the Mexican drug cartels of Sinaloa and Jalisco.
Their fentanyl is made in Mexico with chemicals “largely sourced in China,” according to the DEA.
Some of it is being widely distributed in the form of counterfeit prescription drugs like Percocet, OxyContin and Xanax, they said.
About 60 percent of the fentanyl-laced counterfeit drugs tested by the DEA contained potentially lethal doses of fentanyl, it said.
© 2022 AFP