Day 59 – Arresting the Fentanyl Tsunami

It’s personal.  Recently, a kind-hearted local boy who used to vacation with us died tragically in his home from an overdose of drugs laced with fentanyl.  His wife discovered him and his buddy dead on their couch when she woke up the next morning. He left behind a grieving widow and 2 small children.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t the first family acquaintance to fall victim to the specter of this horrendous drug.

The use of recreational drugs is illegal. Possession and use can get one a criminal record and, in some cases, jail time. Doing a little Cocaine – no more than your usual hit – on a weekend evening to unwind from a hectic week, can earn you a one-way trip to the morgue. Dead. That quick. A fairly innocuous dose of a common recreational drug turned into a killer. Fentanyl the hidden culprit.

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids.

WIKI: Fentanyl has started to make its way into heroin and oxycodone, and more recently, cocaine, ketamine and methamphetamine. Some heroin dealers mix fentanyl powder with heroin to increase potency or compensate for low-quality heroin. Fentanyl itself may be produced more cheaply than other opioids, running about US$6,000 per kilogram. For this reason, Fentanyl is sometimes sold as heroin or oxycodone, leading to overdoses. As of 2018 fentanyl was the most commonly listed opioid in overdose drug deaths, surpassing heroin. Fentanyl was often produced in China and exported illegally to the U.S.

DEA: While buyers may think they’re getting Cocaine, Oxy or Xanax, in reality they’re playing a high stakes game of Russian roulette,” said United States Attorney Robert Brewer. “When it comes to fentanyl, there’s no truth in advertising and you can forget about quality control. Hundreds of unknowing buyers end up ingesting a deadly dose of fentanyl.”

DEA Intelligence Report: Currently, China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations environment. Because of recent restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities on the manufacture of fentanyl, Mexico and India are emerging as other illicit suppliers.

CDC: More than 750,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. Two out of three drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved an opioid, nearly 47,000 people. Fentanyl related deaths have skyrocketed over the last few years. Most of the increases are related to illicitly-made fentanyl that is being mixed with or sold as heroin, without the users’ knowledge as counterfeit pills.

This heartbreaking trend has got to stop. What’s the answer? Greater enforcement? Education? Intervention? Our family friend is now a statistic. Today’s donation will go to help his widow and orphaned children.