Up to 50 times stronger than heroin: what is fentanyl, this drug that is ravaging the United States?

Fentanyl, a drug produced and transported by Mexican cartels, is now claiming many victims in the United States. A look back at a national disaster that affects both upscale neighborhoods and the poorest.

The observation makes the blood run cold. In the United States on average, one person dies every seven minutes from the effects of fentanylan inexpensive designer drug originally created to relieve patients with of a cancer. Fentanyl is becoming the drug of choice for addicts, and nothing seems to be stopping the epidemic: opioid painkiller affects all social classes and seizures of fentanyl at the southern border of the United States continue to increase, reports NBC News. On December 2, 2022, US authorities seized a large load hidden in the fuel tank of a car. “VSThis lethal amount would be enough to kill a population of 5.665 million people, which is two and a half times the size of Houston!“Wrote Gloria Chavez, border police chief in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, on Twitter. But what is this drug that is poisoning the United States?

Almost 50 times more potent than heroin

This drug, 50 times more potent than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine, has become the leading cause of overdose in the United States. A staggering figure, the amount of fentanyl seized in 2022 alone was more than would be needed to kill the entire American population (338 million inhabitants), according to the public agency for the fight against drug trafficking ( DEA). It is today the most formidable cheap synthetic drug in the United States, and for good reason: always according to Drug Enforcement Administration, two milligrams of fentanyl can be deadly, depending on a person’s body size. One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people, reports NBC News. Once ingested, it can reach the brain within minutes and trigger respiratory failure. It is clear that today this fearsome and cheap drug is the main reason behind the more than 108,000 overdose deaths in the United States from July 2021 to June 2022. But how to explain this scourge? “The proliferation of counterfeit pills that look like prescription drugs but actually contain illegally manufactured fentanyl, and the ease with which these pills can be purchased on social media have increased the risk of fatal overdoses among adolescents”alerted the health authorities.

A drug produced by Mexican cartels

It’s unclear if teens were trying to take drugs they thought were genuine, or if they knew they were counterfeit“, they added. Proof that this opiate crisis affects the youngest, a 13-year-old teenager succumbed to an overdose in Connecticut after ingesting fentanyl. Subsequently, the investigation revealed that at least 100 sachets of fentanyl had been discovered in his room.According to the DEA, the main suppliers of fentanyl to the United States are the Mexican cartels of Sinaloa and Jalisco.On Thursday December 5, Mexico proceeded to the capture Thursday of Ovidio Guzman, son of drug lord El Chapo and one of the biggest methamphetamine traffickers, just before a visit by Joe Biden in Mexico. First made illegally in Mexico with chemicals “largely from China”, says the DEA, it is then sold cheaply, even some distributed in the form of counterfeit prescription drugs like Oxycodone (analgesic ), Vicodin or Xanax (anxiolitics). About 60% of counterfeit fentanyl-containing drugs tested by the DEA contained potentially lethal doses of fentanyl.

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