Last updated: June 5, 2023
Fentanyl trafficking has more than doubled in the United States since last year. Actually, all manner of drugs has been pouring into the country ever since President Biden signed a certain executive order immediately after coming into office. That’s a well-documented fact.
That being said, many were shocked when the current administration presented a proposal calling to remove penalties for anyone caught trafficking fentanyl in the United States. That’s certainly understandable. Especially, if you saw the report released last week by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Department. There have been 10,469 pounds of fentanyl seized so far this year.
In comparison, there were 4, 791 pounds confiscated the year before. That’s an increase of nearly 6,500 pounds—and the year isn’t over yet. No one has any idea how the increase compares to the amount of fentanyl that is making it into the hands of dealers across the country.
Judging from the increase in overdose deaths listing fentanyl as a contributing factor, though, it’s a lot.
The latest phase of the opioid crisis
Pound for pound, the cost of fentanyl is extremely cheap. Drug addicts aren’t looking to purchase this deadly drug because news of its extreme potency started circulating soon after it hit the United States a few years back.
Dealers haven’t shied away from it though.
They scoop it up to “cut” into whatever merchandise they can. It increases the amount of the product they’re selling. And, because fentanyl is extremely potent, it causes repeat business and brings in new customers.
Unless, of course, the dealer gets a little carried away. If that happens, customers could start dropping dead on the spot. It only takes a small amount of fentanyl to cause an overdose. It’s 50 times as potent as heroin. And, when we say it only take a little to be too much, we mean it. An equivalent of 4 grains of salt is enough to kill someone.
Seriously, that’s all it takes.
Once reports of fentanyl showing up in overdose deaths that were suspected to be due to say, cocaine or methamphetamine, for instance, city officials and drug addicts alike began putting two and two together.
Working toward the solution
When addicts started keeling over in the streets, it didn’t take long for city officials to form a plan of action. Cities and towns across the country now offer free drug testing—but, not the type of drug testing that may immediately spring to mind.
Instead of rounding up addicts off the street and insisting they take a urinalysis to see what types of drugs they have in their system, city governments are asking people to bring in their drugs to get tested for fentanyl before they use them.
In an effort to lower the number of opioid overdoses, many cities were already distributing Narcan. It’s a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of a suspected opioid overdose. If administered soon enough, fentanyl overdose may sometimes be prevented.
Addicts also started using the buddy system to get high after fentayl came on the scene. That way there is always someone around to administer the Narcan and contact 9-1-1.
The preventive techniques were making a difference—until overdose deaths began to skyrocket after the pandemic hit anyway. The sudden rise in deaths is, in part, directly related to the increased amount of fentanyl being smuggled into the United States.
In an effort to “save lives through harm reduction,” Philadelphia’s mayor, Jim Kenney, signed an executive order in August 2021. The order removed fentanyl test strips from its list of drug paraphernalia.
Entire states had already moved to do the same; they include:
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
As the number of deaths attributed, at least in part, to fentanyl continues to climb, other cities and states are sure to follow suit.
What is it and where is it coming from?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which means that it is manmade. Fentanyl is classified as a Schedule 2 controlled substance under the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Controlled Substances Act. Drugs classified as a Schedule 2 have a high potential for abuse.
It’s used to treat chronic and severe pain and is nearly always prescribed in patch form. The medication slowly absorbs into the body through the skin.
China is mass-producing fentanyl and distributing it to drug cartels in Mexico. From there, it’s only a matter of time before the drug is being distributed on the streets in the United States.
Is it wise to remove the penalties?
So far, there doesn’t seem to be any further word from the White House on handling the onslaught of fentanyl pouring into the country by removing fentanyl trafficking penalties.
What are your thoughts on that?
Do you think it would be wise to battle fentanyl trafficking by removing the penalties attached to that charge?
Don’t answer that out loud.
Right this minute anyway—
It might be a good time to pick up the phone and let your federal, state, and local officials know your thoughts on the matter though.
What do you think about that idea?
They’re only a click away.