Statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that drug overdose has killed more than 100,000 Americans over the last 12-month period that ended in April 2021.
The main cause for these many deaths is linked to fentanyl prevalence on the streets. As such, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is worried about the increase in the use of this drug and the rising deaths.
Recently, Anne Milgram, the DEA administrator, held a conference to talk about the fentanyl crisis. Milgram argues that drug cartels are getting the supply from other countries like Mexico and China, then supplying it into the US market. The DEA revealed a direct link between deaths from an overdose of this drug and Mexican criminal drug networks.
These groups are using social media to ship fentanyl-laced drugs and other fake prescription pills into the American market with just a single click on a smartphone. DEA officials are concerned about the mass production of fentanyl and fake prescription pills designed to appear like legitimate ones such as Xanax ®, Vicodin ®, etc.
China is known to produce this synthetic opioid in its labs, which Milgram pointed out when being interviewed with CBS’ Face the Nation. Once the illegal fentanyl gets its way into the market, it is sold in powder form or made to look like pill that resemble prescription opioid pills. These drugs are smuggled into the country through the border and are readily available in the street.
The DEA seized over 20 million doses of counter pills this year. And for fentanyl alone, it caught more than 15000 pounds and more than 8 million fake prescription pills.
Seizures were said to occur in 46 overdoses, and 39 overdose deaths were reported. 76 of these cases involved drug dealers using Snapchat, Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and other social applications. 32 of these cases are directly tied to Mexican drug networks producing and distributing fentanyl in large numbers.
In September, the DEA gave out its first Public Safety Alert to warn Americans of the rapid increase in fake prescription pills containing fentanyl. Out of 10 tested fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills, at least 4 contain 2mg of fentanyl. This amount is considered a dangerous dose.
The border is still not yet fully secured, which means an increased risk to the country. Anne and other experts argue that securing the border is the only way to reduce the risk from this potent drug.