Last updated: May 16, 2022
No matter which side of the fence you stand on regarding the border situation, there’s no denying that open borders are a boon for the drug trade. Massive amounts of drugs are flowing freely into the United States—every single day.
Since the borders opened in January, officers have already seized more methamphetamine and fentanyl than in all of last year. However, marijuana and cocaine seizures are down—reportedly by as much as 80%.
Sadly, the alarming rise in fentanyl seizures alone more than makes up for the drop though…
NBC News reported that fentanyl seizures are up 4000% since 2018. And, if things continue as they are, how much higher will that figure rise by year’s end? Worse yet, if officers seized that much fentanyl with the borders wide open, how much of the deadly drug did they miss?
Cartels favor fentanyl
Fentanyl first made its way into the U.S. drug trade via China. It was smuggled directly into the country or by way of China to Canada and then across the U.S. border.
Mexican drug cartels have gotten into the act as well. They manufacture fentanyl in Mexico and smuggle it into the United States. It’s extremely profitable for both the cartel and those in the American drug trade because of its low cost.
In addition, its extreme potency makes for a smaller package and it’s easier to smuggle. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that just two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal. That means that one kilogram of this synthetic opioid has the potential to kill 500,000 people!
In years past, rather than smuggling the drug through ports of entry, the Mexican cartels used backpackers—often referred to as mules—who came across the border illegally. However, with the migrant situation currently creating chaos at the border, cartels are using immigrants at the ports of entry more than ever before.
Addicts know the score
Dealers “cut” fentanyl into drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine. It’s used as a “filler” to increase the bulk of the drug being sold. It heightens the user’s experience which, in turn, initiates repeat business.
However, the buyer is rarely—if ever—informed that their drug of choice has been laced with the lethal opioid. Subsequently, anyone who uses a drug containing fentanyl is at increased risk of overdose because they unknowingly inject too much of it into their system.
Some city governments started giving away NARCAN several years ago when opioid overdoses began to rise dramatically. NARCAN is a nasal spray that—when administered at the beginning stage of an overdose—temporarily reverses the effect of the opioids. Hopefully, the victim can receive emergency medical attention before the effects wear off.
It has saved countless lives.
In fact, when word about the deadly effects of fentanyl hit the streets, many addicts turned to a buddy system when they get high. One uses while the other makes sure they don’t overdose.
Not everyone that uses illicit drugs does so with a friend—or with the thought that the drug they’re ingesting is mixed with fentanyl. Reports of overdoses are on the rise across the country and fentanyl is showing up in the autopsy reports.
How fentanyl affects the user
People who ingest fentanyl experience a wide array of side effects.
They include but aren’t limited to:
- respirator depression
- irregular heartbeat
- numbness in hands, feet, or lips
Masses of methamphetamine
Methamphetamine seizures are up by 85% so far this year. That raises concern because—once again—we must wonder how much of the highly addictive drug is making it into the hands of teens and adults.
Even more concerning, of course, is that methamphetamine is often mixed with fentanyl and the user has no idea. Overdose deaths involving methamphetamine have been steadily rising for the past 8 years. One can expect that heartbreaking trend to continue now that the floodgates have been opened and illicit drugs are pouring into our country at a rate that has never been seen prior.
How it affects the user
Meth users are anticipating an intense euphoric high that bursts through their body creating an extreme rush. The heart races and dopamine flows freely into the brain causing feelings of invincibility. Energy levels increase and the sensation of a heightened sense of focus kicks in.
The intense rush only lasts about half an hour but the overall high can last up to 12 hours.
The user believes they become extremely focused and able to accomplish whatever they set their mind to in short order. In reality, though, others often witness someone who is fidgety, exhibiting sporadic movement, and randomly making odd sounds.
Other side effects include but aren’t limited to:
- Change in sleep patterns
- Severe mood swings
- Unpredictable behavior
- Body sores
- Rotting teeth
A good way to monitor
With drugs even more accessible than just months prior, employee drug testing is the best way to monitor your workforce.
It’s been a stressful and chaotic year and it seems as if it may be a while before life levels out again. People who deal with stress and anxiety by taking the edge off with casual drug use are at risk of forming an addiction. Individuals recovering from addiction are at risk of relapsing if they feel uncertain about what’s going to happen in our nation’s future.
There are many reasons that people turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the trials and tribulations of life. But, using drugs in the workplace is never okay because drugs cloud the mind. It becomes difficult to remain focused and that could cause an accident.
Everyone deserves the peace of mind of knowing that they work in a safe environment. Employers who implement random and reasonable suspicion drug tests in addition to pre-employment drug tests show their employees that they take safety seriously.
The drug trade is booming in America at the moment, but we can’t give up the fight. Continued education and encouraging those with problems to seek treatment can eventually turn the tide.
Keep fighting the fight with all that you have because, ultimately, not giving up is the road to victory.