Status: 12/21/2022 10:24 am
No drug threatens more lives in the United States than fentanyl. According to the drug agency DEA, 379 million cans were seized in 2022 – the amount could theoretically kill all Americans.
According to the US authorities, this year seized such a large quantity of the drug fentanyl that it could theoretically kill the entire US population. The US drug agency DEA said that in 2022, 50.6 million pills containing fentanyl and more than 4,500 kilograms of fentanyl powder were seized. This equates to “more than 379 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl” – enough “to kill all Americans.”
50 times stronger than heroin
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. It’s a driver of the opioid crisis in the US, killing tens of thousands every year. It is estimated that around 108,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2021, up 17 percent from the year before. As little as two milligrams of fentanyl — the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil — is considered a potentially lethal dose, according to the DEA.
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is approved for the treatment of severe pain, usually associated with advanced cancer. However, illegally manufactured fentanyl is sold in illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effects, and is often mixed with heroin or other drugs such as cocaine, or compressed into counterfeit prescription pills.
Two Mexican drug cartels
According to the DEA, its priority is to dismantle two Mexican drug cartels – the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels. They are primarily responsible for the fentanyl. Most of the fentanyl traded by the two cartels is made in secret factories in Mexico using chemicals mostly sourced in China.
In 2022, the DEA seized more than twice as many fentanyl-laced pills as the year before. The DEA also seized 125,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 4,000 pounds of heroin and 450,000 pounds of cocaine.