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Illicit fentanyl seizures surged at U.S. borders in 2021
Are you concerned about the rise in fentanyl smuggling into the U.S.?
Written by Eric Revell, Countable News
What’s the story?
- Seizures of illicit fentanyl at U.S. borders have surged during 2021 according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
- Four of the last six months have seen more than 1,000 pounds of fentanyl seized at the border ― a threshold that had never been reached prior to October 2020. This CBP chart shows the monthly amount of fentanyl seized in the last three fiscal years and fiscal year 2022 to date:
- Based on the amounts of fentanyl seized in the first two months of FY2022, this year is on pace to potentially make it at least four consecutive years of record-setting fentanyl seizures after 11,201 pounds of the drug were seized in FY2021.
- Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s about 100 times more potent than morphine and up to 50 times more potent than heroin. It can be legally prescribed for medical purposes, such as pain relief, but it can also be manufactured and used illegally. Illicit fentanyl is often mixed with other street drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, in some cases without the knowledge of the user which can lead to overdoses and potential death due to its potency.
- The CDC reports that synthetic opioids including fentanyl appear to be the primary driver of total drug overdose deaths in the U.S. rising to all-time highs, as overdose deaths involving fentanyl spiked by 55.6% in 12 months from January 2020 to January 2021. Fentanyl can be lethal in doses as small as two milligrams.
- The substance and its precursor chemicals are often smuggled into the country from China and Mexico. Its potency and use as a bioweapon in conflicts overseas has led to calls for its designation as a “weapon of mass destruction.”
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / stockforliving)
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