Federal authorities saw an 89% increase in seizures of fentanyl at the southern border from 2022 to 2023 , according to recently updated federal data.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 26,700 pounds of fentanyl in fiscal year 2023, which is up from 14,100 pounds of the lethal synthetic narcotic in fiscal year 2022, according to the data. Overdose deaths in the U.S. have been increasing, largely due to fentanyl.
Fentanyl, which is largely responsible for the 105,263 drug deaths that occurred between February 2022 and January, is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 49, according to the DOJ. In 2021, nearly 108,000 Americans died of overdoses, which was a 15% increase from 2020 after an already 30% increase the year before, according to the provisional data published by the CDC.
Illicit fentanyl is made with chemicals shipped from China to Mexico, where cartels synthesize it in clandestine drug labs to then smuggle over the border into the U.S., according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It is 100 times stronger than morphine.
“Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat our nation has ever faced. These eight cases are the result of DEA’s efforts to attack the fentanyl supply chain where it starts — in China,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a recent statementregarding the indictments of several Chinese companies and individuals involved in the manufacturing of the illicit drug.
“Chinese chemical companies are fueling the fentanyl crisis in the United States by sending fentanyl precursors, fentanyl analogues, xylazine, and nitazenes into our country and into Mexico. These chemicals are used to make fentanyl and make it especially deadly,” Milgram said.
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