Last updated: October 2, 2023
Border Patrol agents patrolling between the Mexican border and the United States are discovering abandoned backpacks stuffed full of fentanyl and other drugs. It is unknown if the packs are abandoned due to a sudden panic attack. They could have been dropped intentionally at a drug cartel checkpoint. Regardless, the finds mean that load of poison won’t be hitting the streets.
If only those discoveries would actually make a difference.
Despite millions of doses seized, fentanyl deaths increasing
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced yesterday that over the course of 2022, more than 3 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl were confiscated before hitting the street. Even so, fentanyl-related deaths continue to rise dramatically across the nation. It’s often found as one of several contributing drugs contributing to an overdose because the highly potent synthetic opioid is mixed with other opioids, methamphetamine, and cocaine—just to name two.
It’s extremely addictive. And extremely dangerous too. Fentanyl is 1oo times more potent than morphine. Moreover, it’s 50 times more potent than heroin. Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl—which compare in size to a few grains of salt—is considered to be a potentially lethal dose.
Pharmaceutical companies legally manufacture fentanyl under strict regulations, mainly in China and India. It’s prescribed to treat patients with severe chronic pain or following an acute injury or surgery.
Clandestine laboratories in Mexico mass produce fentanyl using chemicals largely sourced from China. Its potency causes the user to experience extreme euphoric sensations. At the same time, it’s inexpensive to produce making it very profitable on the black market. In fact, one kilogram of fentanyl is 20 times more profitable than one kilogram of heroin.
Fake prescription pills look identical to medications, such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax. They contain nothing but fentanyl and filler. Dealers market the pills through social media and other online sources as well as selling them on the street.
And, scores of people are dying every day because of it.
Pick a state, any state
Enter the keywords “state of choice” and “fentanyl.” You’re sure to see results linking the drug to deaths and hopefully, stories of seizures as well.
We decided to do a quick search ourselves and didn’t get past the “A’s” before we’d seen enough. Links to state pages acknowledging that the problem is growing out of control were always listed pretty close to the top.
- Alabama—The State of Alabama announced that methamphetamine and fentanyl nearly tie as being the drugs with the greatest threat in 2023. That speaks volumes, doesn’t it?
- Alaska—State officials here proclaim fentanyl is responsible for a 71% increase in opioid deaths.
- Arizona—Story after story of drug seizures in Arizona appear. The border patrol refuses to give up. Mules get creative in their attempts to smuggle fentanyl into the country. Getting busted—or ditching the load—leads to facing the drug cartel back in Mexico. Recently, Mexican authorities discovered 660 pounds of the drug packed into coconuts. It was en route to Lukeville, Arizona.
- Arkansas—The number of fentanyl-related deaths in this state was three in 2014. That number rose to 175 in 2020. Odds are we’ll discover that number hasn’t gone down.
Rainbow pills to lure younger clientele?
It’s estimated that 136 people die every day from an opioid overdose. The majority of them are fentanyl-related. Marketing fentanyl in colorful pills stamped with cutesy, fun images to further entice the eye makes one wonder if they are specifically targeting a younger crowd. Well, in answer to that, here’s an eye-opening piece of information. The State of California reported a 625% increase in the number of fentanyl overdose deaths among kids aged 10 to 19 from 2018 to 2020.
We didn’t dig any deeper. It seems obvious that the target audience of drug cartel leaders is growing younger. Kids are impulsive. Enticing them with a colorful, fun product with the promise of an amazingly good time will cause some to impulsively take the offered drug.
Education is key
The effect that fentanyl has had on our country these past few years is nothing short of horrifying. Now, children as young as age 10 are dying of fentanyl overdoses as well as thousands of adults who continue to die due to fentanyl-related overdoses in record-breaking numbers.
Many feel we fight a losing battle, however, we can never believe that is true! We can make a difference. It starts by having tough conversations with our children earlier than ever before. We must arm them with information.
Here are a few conversation starters:
- Ask your child what they know about drugs. Their answer may surprise you.
- Tell them that drug abuse begins by taking any form of medication from someone who is not their parent.
- Explain the dangers of drug abuse and the horrors of addiction.
To find out more about how to talk to your kids about drugs and what to do if you discover you’ve waited too long—Partnership to End Addiction shares tips for having the conversation. You can also find help if your child is experimenting with drugs. Their very first tip is an excellent one: Take some time to plan your discussion points beforehand. It will help you stay on point. When you write out your talking points, you won’t get as distracted.
When you arm your children by educating them, it enables them to make well-balanced decisions. If someone hasn’t already tried to get them to use drugs, it’s going to happen sooner or later. Having you as a positive influence in their life garners respect, which in turn can influence them to follow your advice.
Adults who suffer from an addiction to one drug or another can find it hard to admit to themselves that they have a problem. They need help. But, they may also be the first to tell you that they wish they’d never begun using drugs. Making the decision to stay away from drugs is one of the wisest decisions a child can ever make. And, when they know that you are standing by them—to the point that you would single-handedly take on a drug cartel if necessary to keep them away from drugs—you can believe that it strengthens their resolve.