On Tuesday, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said it has seized more than 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl in 2022.
ABC News reported that the seizures include 50.6 million pills laced with fentanyl and 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder.
DEA Counts 379,000,000 Deadly Doses of Fentanyl Seized in 2022 https://t.co/r8ARpMYl4z
— CNSNews (@cnsnews) December 22, 2022
Enough to kill everyone in America. The cartels are a national security threat.https://t.co/NZYAaRDjk7
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) December 21, 2022
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement that the seizures contained enough fentanyl to kill every American and that it reflects the DEA’s “unwavering commitment to protect Americans and save lives by tenaciously pursuing those responsible for the trafficking of fentanyl across the United States,”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
There are two types of fentanyl: pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed by doctors for severe pain and cancer treatment but it is the illicit fentanyl that is causing an epidemic in America.
Powdered fentanyl is easy to transport across borders and is used to lace recreational drugs, including powdered cocaine. It is sometimes made to look like prescription drugs like Xanax and Percocet, but these pills include filler and fentanyl and are frequently lethal, according to the DEA.
According to a pair of CDC reports, U.S. life expectancy has dropped for the second consecutive year from 77 years to 76.4 years. This puts life expectancy on the same level as it was in 1996, after a drop of 1.8 years in 2020. The shortened life expectancy is driven mainly by COVID-19 and drug overdoses.
Another study found that deaths from opioid overdoses in teens ages 14 to 18 increased by 94% between 2019 and 2020, and by an additional 20% between 2020 and 2021. Overall, according to the study, fentanyl was associated with 77% of adolescent overdose deaths in 2021.
According to the DEA, two Mexican criminal organizations – the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels – are the primary sources behind fentanyl trafficked into the U.S.
The DEA said criminal organizations create fentanyl using chemicals from China before shipping pills and powder to the U.S.
Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot (R) toured the University of Houston fentanyl vaccine lab, which is undertaking groundbreaking research in the area of fentanyl poisoning and addiction.
During a press conference after the tour, Abbott detailed the actions taken by his administration to combat the growing national fentanyl crisis, including “designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations, signing legislation into law that makes it a felony to make or distribute fentanyl, and launching the ‘One Pill Kills’ campaign to raise awareness of this deadly drug across the state.”