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Fentanyl Overdoses — More than 50,000 People Overdosed on the Drug Last Year

Fentanyl Overdoses — More than 50,000 People Overdosed on the Drug Last Year

Growing fentanyl crisis is leaving ‘trail of death’ in its wake, federal officials warn in emergency alert

This article is more than 2 years old

This article is more than 2 years old

Federal law enforcement officials say there has been a surge in fentanyl seizures following the drug’s “spike” or “explosion” last year.

The surge has left more addicts and overdoses untreated in a situation “like a trail of death”, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Treasury Department said.

Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opioid used as a painkiller, and federal officials say the drug has been implicated in more than 100 deaths and has been linked to the deaths of at least 17 Americans this year.

In the first 48 hours after Fentanyl was detected in US soil, the DEA and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized $9.6m in fentanyl from “straw markets” across the country, according to the latest numbers released on Thursday.

A surge in fentanyl seizures after last year’s spike. What do authorities know? Read more

“Although this is not a large sum, it is an example of how dangerous the drug can be. The increase represents a significant increase in the availability, purity and potency of the drug,” the US Drug Enforcement Administration said on Thursday.

“This spike in fentanyl is a direct result of the extensive production and distribution of the drug out of China and other countries on the opioid supply chain,” the DEA said in a statement. “The distribution of fentanyl has dramatically increased the availability, purity and potentially harmful potency of the drug.”

The federal officials said in the alert that more than 1,600 people were overdosing on Fentanyl last year, more than triple the number from the previous year.

“Fentanyl is now being used for the same things as when it was first introduced more than 40 years ago,” said Scott Foval, assistant administrator at the DEA, according to the alert. “These new overdoses are happening in increasingly vulnerable and unsuspecting users.”

More than a thousand people overdosed on Fentanyl last year in 28 states, according to the alert. More than 50,000 were impacted by the drug.

“It was like an out of control storm. There was so

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