Trending Tragedy: A Look at the Fentanyl Crisis

Julissa Duran, Staff Reporter


Fentanyl has been on a rise in the states and other countries within recent years. In 2020 overdose deaths have increased by over 56% compared to 2019, and have been increasing since. According to the DEA as little as 2 mg of fentanyl can be considered potentially lethal. 


Fentanyl is a narcotic that is used to treat severe pain and advance cancer pain. Developed in 1959, and introduced in the 1960’s the pharmaceutical drug is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine as stated by the CDC. The drug is taken in a multitude of ways, and often mixed with illegal drugs to increase their effects. The opioid can be extremely addictive, and is now the leading cause of overdoses in the United States. 


“It’s an extreme opioid,” Stephanie Siete of Community Bridges, a non-profit private organization, told Arizona PBS, “Prescription painkillers, then the big sister would be heroine, the queen bee is fentanyl,” Siete said.


The transportation of fentanyl into the states is paid for by its consumer citizens. When the consumer pays for the narcotic, the money goes through a pipeline that eventually leads to the main supplier who then uses it to transfer the drug into the states. According to the DEA China is the main source of the fentanyl being transported into the United States. When seizures for fenanty from China are conducted it is often found that they have a over 90% concentration of pure fentanyl. 


Behind China, Mexico has also played a huge role in supplying fentanyl to the states.  Mexican TCOs  have been increasing the production of fentanyl and fentanyl tablets/pills. More countries such as India have also joined in on supplying fentanyl to US consumers, and there is no sign of sales going down anytime soon. 


Most recently the narcotic has been found in the form of colorful tablets that resemble candy and laced in other drugs such as painkillers and cannabis. Just this past Wednesday Bakersfield Police Department seized 80,000 Fentanyl pills, and 2.5 pounds of fentanyl powder. Bust like these are not uncommon, and have been becoming more and more prominent as the drug continues to take over the US. 


In order to increase awareness on the issue, this past year the DEA marked August 21 as National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day. They stated that the day should be used to honor those whose lives were lost from fentanyl posing, and recognize the tragedies the drug has brought upon its increase in popularity.  

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