A warning has been issued by both the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration to both police and anyone who purchases drugs off the street about fentanyl, an extremely powerful opioid 50-100 times stronger than morphine. A few grains the size of table salt crystals can kill a full grown human being. Drug cartels from Tijuana, Mexico to all over the US are selling fentanyl disguised as both OxyContin and heroin, according to NBC.
Fentanyl is so lethal that simply handling it is causing major concern among law enforcement. Two New Jersey police officers almost passed out recently, simply from sealing a bag of the stuff during a bust, as reported in the NBC article. Now imagine injecting or snorting fentanyl. That’s how numerous people are dying lately.
From the Far East to a Coffin
It all starts in China, where multiple companies produce and sell fentanyl through the internet. The near impossibility of regulating the large amount of such companies makes for easy access to fentanyl. Therefore, drug cartels in North and South America are importing it from China, and due to its bland white appearance, disguising it as heroin and/or OxyContin, both powerful opioids. Hence the warning from both the DOJ and the DEA.
Assistant US Attorney Sherri Hobson said, “I see this as an experienced prosecutor as like a death sentence for someone who thinks that they’re buying oxy but really they are buying fentanyl because it’s cheaper.” DEA spokeswoman Amy Roderick added to the conversation, saying “It’s extremely profitable for the cartels… They aren’t having to harvest the poppy plants… not having to manufacture that paste into heroin. They are literally just getting a chemical from China.”
More than 50 overdoses in Sacramento, twelve of them fatal, occurred recently due to users buying fentanyl when they believed it to be OxyContin. On the opposite coast, fentanyl has killed more than 100 people every year since 2014 in Erie County, NY. Famous singer Prince died this year in his Minnesota home, reportedly from fentanyl, and a hydrocodone bottle found in his home tested positive for fentanyl, according to CNN. George Marquardt of Kansas is now known as the ‘Walter White of Wichita,’ after it was discovered he had been mass producing fentanyl (among other drugs) for decades, selling them to anyone with the money. In May of this year, Alaska State Troopers reported a spike in deaths caused by fentanyl-laced heroin. No part of the country is safe from this epidemic.
Last month alone, US authorities seized over 70 pounds of fentanyl, along with some 6,000 counterfeit prescription pills. That’s more than enough to kill the entire population of North America and Japan combined. If that doesn’t hit you like a ton of bricks, then you are literally immune to a ton of bricks.
If eleven SWAT officers experienced “lightheadedness, nausea, sore throats and headaches” just from busting a fentanyl-selling residence in Hartford, Connecticut last month, then surely fentanyl injection and/or inhalation is far worse. The DEA, recognizing how potent fentanyl is, told the Washington Post “…it represents an unusual hazard for law enforcement.”
Imagine now the hazard it represents for those addicted to opioids. Please, if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioids addiction, be careful. Enroll in an addiction treatment facility, or at the very least, seek help from your loved ones. If you are an opioid user, for God’s sake be careful. Every crystal of fentanyl out there (and it is out there) is a death sentence waiting to happen.
No high is good enough to die for.