The amount of fentanyl seized in 2022 was enough to kill each and every individual in the country, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States
Fentanyl is reportedly the most lethal substance which the United States now has to grapple with, according to the DEA. A potentially lethal dosage of the opioid is two milligrams. This is equivalent to the amount that could fit on the point of a pencil.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the DEA stated that over 379 million lethal doses have been confiscated this year, including 50.6 million counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl and more than ten thousand pounds of fentanyl powder.
“These seizures—enough deadly doses of fentanyl to kill every American—reflect DEA’s unwavering commitment to protect Americans and save lives by tenaciously pursuing those responsible for the trafficking of fentanyl across the United States,” the DEA administrator, Anne Milgram, said.
“DEA’s top operational priority is to defeat the two Mexican drug cartels—the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels—that are primarily responsible for the fentanyl…killing Americans today.”
According to the DEA, the majority of that trafficked fentanyl is being illegally mass-produced in Mexican factories, with most chemicals needed for production coming from China.
What exactly is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an opioid compound that is fifty to one hundred times more powerful than morphine. It is a pharmaceutical available as patches used to relieve pain experienced by cancer patients undergoing treatment.
The drug is readily abused because of its potent opioid effects. The addition of fentanyl to heroin makes the latter more potent.
Last month, an alert was issued to the general public in the United States over a substantial spike in the lethality of so-called fentanyl-laced prescription tablets. There was also a public safety notice along the same lines issued by the DEA last year. That warning targeted not only fentanyl but also methamphetamine-laced pills.
As reported by the DEA in an advisory, there has actually been an increase in the percentage of counterfeit prescription tablets containing a potentially fatal amount of fentanyl from four percent recorded last year to six percent this year.
“Never take a pill that wasn’t prescribed directly to you,” Milgram warned. “Never take a pill from a friend. Never take a pill bought on social media. Just one pill is dangerous, and one pill can kill.”
According to the DEA, a large number of these pills resemble prescription drugs, such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax.
As 2022 ends, #DEA announces the seizure of over 50.6 million fentanyl-laced, fake Rx pills & more than 10,000 lbs of fentanyl powder this year. The DEA Lab estimates that these seizures represent over 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl.https://t.co/fNux9Ok4Hb pic.twitter.com/Cq93PJSVIe
— DEA HQ (@DEAHQ) December 20, 2022
Additionally, the DEA was successful in seizing more than 444,000 pounds of cocaine, more than 4,300 pounds of heroin, and approximately 131,000 pounds of methamphetamine this year.