Federal fentanyl pill seizures doubled in 2022
“Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially deadly dose,” DEA says
By George Hunter
The Detroit News
DETROIT — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than double the number of fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills in 2022 than it did the previous year, the agency announced Wednesday.
Nationwide in 2022, the DEA said, it seized more than 50 million fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. In Michigan, Ohio and Northern Kentucky, DEA agents seized more than 280,000 fentanyl-laced pills and over 600 pounds of fentanyl powder, the agency said in a press release.
“Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing this country,” the release said. “It is a highly addictive man-made opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially deadly dose.”
Two drug cartels are largely responsible for smuggling fentanyl into the United States, according to the release.
“The 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,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement.
The statement added: “Most of the fentanyl trafficked by the Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels is being mass-produced at secret factories in Mexico with chemicals sourced largely from China. In 2021, the DEA issued a Public Safety Alert on the widespread drug trafficking of fentanyl in the form of fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills.
“These pills are made to look identical to real prescription medications — including OxyContin , Percocet, and Xanax — but only contain filler and fentanyl, and are often deadly,” the release said.
DEA Detroit Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene said in a statement: “Fentanyl in pill form is a deliberate attempt by drug cartels to make illicit drug use more appealing to Americans. We have seized fentanyl in just about every size, shape and color in both Michigan and Ohio.
“These fake pills are readily found on social media, yet no pharmaceutical pill bought on social media should be considered safe,” Greene said. “The only safe medications are ones prescribed directly to you by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist.”
DEA: 6 out of 10 fake prescription pills analyzed contain potentially deadly dose of fentanyl
Because a tiny amount of fentanyl can lead to a fatal overdose, officials have warned users about fake prescription drugs, saying "one pill can kill"
Last year, DEA officials said a laboratory test of confiscated drugs revealed that six out of ten fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. In 2021, the agency said four out of 10 fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills studied contained a potentially deadly dose.
The DEA also announced Wednesday that in 2022 agents had seized nearly 131,000 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 4,300 pounds of heroin, and over 444,000 pounds of cocaine.
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