During the past year, federal authorities seized more than 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl – enough to kill every American – the Drug Enforcement Administration reported Tuesday.
The haul so far includes 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder and 50.6 million fentanyl-laced pills disguised to resemble legitimate prescription medication, the agency reported, as officials have continued to spotlight the deadly drug threat that continues to ravage the country.
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The highly-addictive, manufactured opioid is 50 times more potent than heroin, and only a tiny amount – enough to rest on a pencil tip – can be fatal. More than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, and two-thirds involved fentanyl.
“DEA’s top operational priority is to defeat the two Mexican drug cartels – the Sinaloa and Jalisco (CJNG) Cartels – that are primarily responsible for the fentanyl that is killing Americans today,” agency Administrator Anne Milgram said.
Most of the deadly material, the DEA said, is mass-produced in “secret factories” in Mexico with chemicals obtained from China.
More:DEA seized 4 million deadly doses of fentanyl in Michigan, Ohio from May to September, agency says
Last year, Milgram and Justice Department officials described the threat as a “national emergency.” And earlier this year, officials announced the seizure of more than 36 million lethal doses during a five-month period ending in September.
Of the 390 cases investigated during that period, 51 were linked to overdose poisonings and 35 cases were connected to one or both of the primary Mexican cartels.
More:‘A national emergency’: 1.8 million counterfeit pills seized, flood of fake meds driving record overdose deaths
Throughout this year, seizures of fake prescription tablets laced with fentanyl more than doubled last year’s total.
DEA testing of the material revealed that six of 10 pills contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, up from four out of 10 in 2021.
In color, size and markings, the pills are made to appear like prescribed medication and have been pouring into the the U.S. from the makeshift operations in Mexico.
The DEA also reported separate interceptions of nearly 131,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 4,300 pounds of heroin, and 444,000 pounds of cocaine.
Story Credit: usatoday.com