A new dangerous drug has arisen in America. It can masquerade as heroin, oxycodone, or as a seemingly benign prescription drug. However, no matter how its packaged, it can have the same deadly results.
This drug is called Fentanyl and many people who take it aren’t aware they are doing so. The cost is high as the drug is often deadly. It can also cause seizures. Fentanyl is estimated to be 30-50 stronger than heroin and even just a small amount of pure fentanyl touching the skin can kill.
The opioid crisis is moving to the sideline as the new threat is even more serious and fentanyl deaths are rapidly on the rise.
How Did Fentanyl Become Prevalent?
As with opioids, fentanyl use became widespread through the medical community. Doctors were prescribing painkillers that contained fentanyl to patients that couldn’t tolerate regular opioids. The drug companies were marketing it without informing consumers of the potential side effects.
As a less expensive alternative, it was easy for doctors to overprescribe. People then ended up with excess painkillers on their hands and those pills made their way to the streets.
The Rising Number of Fentanyl Deaths
In July 2019, the U.S. Attorney issued a public safety alert1. In just 24 hours in San Diego, there were four deaths attributed to Fentanyl. So far this year there have been 50 confirmed deaths, with another 28 suspected deaths.
That might not sound like much, but it represents a 787% increase from 5 years ago.
Where Is Fentanyl Coming From?
Most of the illicit Fentanyl is coming from China2. Some of it is being shipped in small amounts through the mail. There are even seemingly legitimate import/export companies receiving legitimate shipments with Fentanyl hidden in the contents.
Four years ago, only 30 kilograms were confiscated by authorities. This year that number has jumped to 533 kilograms — over half a ton.
The Chinese government is working to stop the manufacturers of this illicit drug. So far, however, the situation is pretty dire.
Unfortunately, even if China gets things under control, Mexican drug cartels have also learned how to manufacture the drug. They get most of their raw materials from China, but even if that supplier were to go away, there is always India or other places in the world.