“You can’t do drugs right now, everything has Fentanyl in it.”
I wasn’t necessarily surprised when someone told me this. I had heard about the outbreak of Fentanyl. However, it hasn’t really received the media coverage that it likely deserves. The DEA is already on the case, and they have a whole page about the problem. What is surprising is that according to the reported cases, Fentanyl is worse than COVID-19 but with much less attention. Let’s get educated about what Fentanyl is, where it’s coming from, and what is being done to stem the flow.
What is Fentanyl?
According to the DEA, “Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as an analgesic (pain relief) and anesthetic. It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as an analgesic.” This is the opioid crisis on steroids. According to the CDC, “Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is prescribed in the form of transdermal patches or lozenges and can be diverted for misuse and abuse in the United States.”
The drug was invented in the 1960s and the illegal street drug is usually made in labs in Mexico, with the necessary chemical precursors coming from China. In this 2020 report, from the DEA, they have tracked the origin and transport of the drug and its material from points in Asia to North America.
Fentanyl and the Border
One of the biggest stories that probably hasn’t gotten as much attention as we would like it to get is the crisis at the southern border. In late March, a fire broke out at one of the detention facilities that killed 37 people. However, not only is there an immigration crisis, but there is also a drug movement crisis. Fentanyl has become the drug of choice, replacing meth, and it’s pouring over the border, at least that appears to be the case. The situation is more nuanced.
In this article from The Hill, we see how the GOP is trying to link Fentanyl and immigration. However, it is not the migrants bringing over most of the drugs, it’s people passing through check points and getting caught with the…