New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that fentanyl-related deaths in the United States have nearly doubled since 2019. The CDC data was compiled by the group Families Against Fentanyl and also reveals that the powerful opioid is now the leading killer of American adults ages 18-45, causing more deaths than suicide, COVID-19, and car accidents.
As reported by Fox News, “Between 2020 and 2021, nearly 79,000 people between 18 and 45 years old — 37,208 in 2020 and 41,587 in 2021 — died of fentanyl overdoses, the data analysis from opioid awareness organization Families Against Fentanyl shows.”
“This is a national emergency. America’s young adults — thousands of unsuspecting Americans — are being poisoned,” James Rauh, founder of Families Against Fentanyl, told Fox News. “It is widely known that illicit fentanyl is driving the massive spike in drug-related deaths. A new approach to this catastrophe is needed.”
“Bold action is needed to stop this trend! Almost all illicit fentanyl is made outside the U.S.,” FAF tweeted. “The U.S. needs the authority to root out the international manufacturers and traffickers of this dangerous chemical BEFORE it reaches our streets.”
Bold action is needed to stop this trend!
Almost all illicit fentanyl is made outside the U.S.
The U.S. needs the authority to root out the international manufacturers and traffickers of this dangerous chemical BEFORE it reaches our streets.
— Families Against Fentanyl (@FafFentanyl) December 16, 2021
In January 2021, the Congressional Research Service stated that China remains a major producer of illegal fentanyl, which is smuggled into the U.S. by traffickers, often through the mail:
China has been a major source of U.S.-bound fentanyl and, more recently, precursors and production equipment. In January 2020, DEA assessed that although China remained the “primary source” of all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States, other sources of fentanyl were emerging. Based on U.S. seizure data, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues were often mailed from China in parcel packages. These small (typically less than 1 kilogram in weight), high-purity (often testing above 90% purity) parcels would arrive in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, where they would be mixed with heroin (or other illicit drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine) or pressed into pills (some purporting to be name-brand pharmaceutical opioid preparations).
In December 2020 testimony, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reported two consecutive years of “dramatic” declines in the number of seizures of suspected fentanyl or synthetic opioids in inbound international mail. At the same hearing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) noted that despite an “apparent shift in fentanyl production to other countries such as India and Mexico,” China remains a “major source country” for a variety of controlled substances and drug-related manufacturing equipment, including pill presses.
In the fiscal year 2021, CBP also reports they have seized approximately 11,201 pounds of fentanyl coming over the border, much of this through the southern border with Mexico.
Just this week, authorities seized more than 1.7 million fentanyl pills coming over the border through traffickers allegedly linked to the Mexico-based Sinaloa Cartel.
“In addition to 360 pounds of fentanyl pills, investigators recovered 10 kilos of powdered fentanyl and 1 pound of methamphetamine — valued at an estimated $9 million altogether,” the New York Post reported, citing Scottsdale (AZ) Police Chief Jeff Walther.
“The DEA has seized a record 20 million fentanyl pills nationwide this year, including more than 9.5 million in Arizona alone,” the paper added.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 1 kilo of fentanyl can kill 500,000 people, and as little as 2 mg can be the cause of death of an individual.