The Drug Enforcement Administration, US seized over 4,500 kilograms of Fentanyl in 2022 alone, which is enough to kill every American due to overdose. Fentanyl is a narcotic substance that is fifty times more potent than heroin. Physically, Fentanyl resembles heroin, which is why many mistakenly take Fentanyl, thinking that they are consuming heroin. But because of its remarkably high potency, it results in drug overdose, thus ending the person’s life. There have been many deaths and emergency cases in the US due to Fentanyl consumption. Because of this, DEA has seized almost all the available supply of the drug from the US market. The DEA said that the amount of Fentanyl seized in 2022, is double the amount that was seized in 2021. The DEA also seized over 50 million Fentanyl pills disguised as painkillers.
Fentanyl is a synthetic narcotic which belongs to the opioid family and also includes well-known opioids such as morphine and heroin. Because of its chemical properties, Fentanyl is almost 50 times more potent than heroin and almost 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl has many applications in the pharmaceutical industry as it is used as a pain reliever after surgeries and even for treating cancer. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is well regulated as it can be acquired only through a prescription. But according to the CDC and DEA, cases of Fentanyl overdose are being caused due to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which has no regulations related to its quality or procurement. Because of having zero regulations in the illicit market, there have been many malpractices surrounding the sale of Fentanyl.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that because of its higher potency and heroin-like effects, Fentanyl is often being mixed with the other drugs present and popular in the market to make them much cheaper. As Fentanyl is known to be highly addictive, it increases the business for these illegal drug dealers. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is being sold in the market in liquid and powder forms. The powder form of illicitly manufactured fentanyl is marketed in the form of pills which are deliberately made to look like normal opioid painkillers. The liquid fentanyl on the other hand is marketed in the form of nasal sprays and eye drops. Because of such a disguised look, it is easy to unknowingly consume Fentanyl, resulting in an overdose.
Drug overdose is a serious issue for the US and Mexico, as there are thousands of deaths every year because of a drug overdose in these countries. In 2021 alone, the US reported over 100,000 deaths because of a drug overdose, out of which, over 60,0000 deaths were caused by Fentanyl overdose. The DEA said that the amount which has been seized in the US in 2022 is enough to kill all the Americans, which have a population of over 330 million. Anne Milgram, the Director of DEA said that the agency is actively trying to defeat Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels, which originated in Mexico and are supplying Fentanyl in the US market. The DEA is also working on seizing other illegally sold narcotics in the country to reduce the number of deaths caused due to drug overdose.