According to Customs and Border Protection, the amount of fentanyl seized by border agents last year was 742 times the amount seized in 2013.
Fentanyl is a dangerous opioid, far stronger than heroin. It’s responsible for a dramatic increase in fatal overdoses.
According to the Atlantic, a lethal dose of fentanyl for an average adult male is a tiny three milligrams, whereas a lethal dose of heroin is about 30 milligrams.
The fact that border agents are finding a dramatic increase of fentanyl being smuggled into the U.S. indicates a vastly increased supply to meet a presumably equally troubling demand.
If we can assume that seizure rates remained relatively constant in the last few years, it’s clear that the amount of fentanyl snuck across the border has climbed to astronomical proportions since 2013.
Washington Examiner reports:
The amount of fentanyl seized by U.S. border agents has skyrocketed in recent years, from two pounds in fiscal year 2013 to approximately 1,485 pounds from Oct. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2017, according to federal data published Tuesday.
Customs and Border Protection reported finding 2.14 million pounds of drugs — including 5,760 pounds of heroin, 66,617 pounds of methamphetamine, and 273,580 pounds of cocaine. Officers also seized 1.59 million pounds of marijuana, the reportstated.
[…] The majority of illicit drug smuggling took place on the Southwest border between the U.S. and Mexico. CBP officials said they are seeing a growing number of synthetic, or designer, drugs being smuggled into the country through international mail and express consignment carriers.
The agency also seized more than $96.8 million in unreported currency, 2,302 firearms, and 305,414 rounds of ammunition.
In addition to the gun trade and more established drug trafficking, we’ve seen fentanyl seizures approach a whole ton from a measly two pounds in just a few years.
Remember that just a tiny sprinkle of particles constitute a fatal dose, and consider that 1,485 pounds was seized last year alone.
If this trend continues, we can expect to see our already troubling opiod overdose epidemic worsen significantly over the next few years.
Arizona agents alone have seized 140 pounds of fentanyl along the Arizona/Mexico border in 2017, according to KTAR News. 140 pounds of fentanyl, the news report claims, is enough to kill 21 million people.
That was a 600 percent increase from seizures made in 2016, as reported by US Customs and Border Protection.
What we’re seeing here is a dramatic increase in fentanyl seizures year by year, and there’s no reason to suspect we’ve reached a peak.
Fentanyl is a synthetic cousin to morphine and heroin. It doesn’t rely on raising opium poppy crops for harvest, though. It’s made in laboratories.
Traces of fentanyl can be laced with heroin to make it more powerful. But the fact that fentanyl can be made in a basement, far easier to conceal than a crop of poppies, combined with the fact that fentanyl is so much stronger than heroin, could make fentanyl the drug of choice for several suppliers.
KTAR News reports:
Shannon Scheel, Director for Drug Prevention and Education for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, said one of the biggest components of the increase is because Fentanyl can simply be purchased from the black market on the internet.
“All of these items are manufactured – that’s why they’re called synthetic opioids,” Scheel said. “They’re not grown from a heroin plant or opium poppies these are synthetic and manufactured. So, it can be easily obtained.”
Fatal overdoses from synthetic opiods doubled from 2015 in 2016, according to Vox.
What we’re seeing unfold isn’t simply adding to the heroin problem. It’s a new problem, all on it’s own, heaped on top of what we’re already dealing with. And it’s getting worse every year.