What makes the synthetic opioid fentanyl so scary? The fact that just a small portion of it can cause tremendous damage. This past week in Westchester County, New York, authorities seized five kilograms of the substance from a local home. Though that doesn’t sound like a hefty amount, DEA agents are claiming that it had the power to kill millions of people.
“This amount of fentanyl has the potency to kill nearly over two million people,” New York division DEA Special Agent Ray Donovan told Yahoo News. “I commend the men and women in the Task Force and Tactical Diversion Squad for their quick and efficient investigation into this organization and their diligence to the safety of the residents living nearby.”
Surprisingly, this all went down in an assuming suburban neighborhood. Five suspects (ranging in age from 31 to 47) were arrested after the raid, all of whom were reportedly living out of the home. Special agents claimed to have found a sizable amount of heroin as well, leading them to theorize that this was part of a major illicit drug operation.
Sadly, fentanyl confiscations of this magnitude are starting to become much more common. Several months prior, two Michigan men were arrested with 10 kilograms of pure fentanyl in their home (enough to potentially kill over 10 million people). There have also been increased seizures of heroin-laced fentanyl, which can certainly take street customers by surprise and inadvertently lead to overdosing.
Multiple doctors have been brought up on charges as well. In Flushing, New York, for example, a medical ringleader was allegedly charging patients as much as $300 under the table for opioid prescription orders. Another 75-year-old east coast doctor was convicted for writing as many as one million prescriptions for oxycodone in the span of three years.
Obviously with these types of reports, it’s beginning to sound like we’re in the midst of an illicit drug crisis similar to the 1980’s. Tragically, the opioid epidemic has led many to seek out their painkillers through street-based drug dealers. Not only does it make the addiction criminal, it puts the users at serious risk as heavily laced substances are now commonplace.
Per the Yahoo News article, more than 28,000 Americans have lost their lives to the opioid crisis in the past year alone. It would certainly be interesting to break that stat down even further and highlight the amount of overdoses that occurred because of laced, illegal fentanyl strains.