Law enforcement agencies around the U.S. are reporting an alarming rise in the number of drugs seized containing fentanyl, according to a new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Fentanyl is 30-50 times more potent than heroin and is now a significant driver of overdose deaths in the U.S. As little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal.
To conduct the study, researchers looked at 2018-2021 data regarding the seizure of drugs from “High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas” in the U.S. to calculate how many of those seizures involved fentanyl.
They found that the number of seizures involving fentanyl-laced pills increased from 68 in the first quarter of 2018 to 635 in the last quarter of 2021, an 834% increase. In just the fourth quarter of 2021, 2,089,186 pills containing fentanyl were seized, up from 42,202 pills in the first quarter of 2018 – a 4,850% increase.
The danger these tainted pills pose is clear. Many who buy drugs such as Xanax or oxycodone on the street are often unaware these drugs may be fentanyl lased. Given the potent nature of fentanyl, the consequences are often fatal.
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