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DEA warns of ‘national spike’ in massive overdose deaths linked to fentanyl as border crisis rages

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The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning of a ‘nationwide spike’ in massive overdoses linked to fentanyl, as it says the drug is killing Americans at an ‘unprecedented’ rate – deaths that leading Republicans link to the ongoing crisis at the southern border.

“The DEA is seeing a national spike in fentanyl-related massive overdose events involving three or more overdoses occurring in a short time at the same location,” the agency said in a letter to federal, state and law enforcement agencies. local.


The agency said there have been at least seven mass overdose events, involving 58 overdoses and 29 deaths. The overdoses have happened in states like Colorado, Texas, Nebraska and Florida.

The agency said many victims thought they were taking cocaine and did not know it was mixed with fentanyl – a deadly drug that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

“Fentanyl is killing Americans at an unprecedented rate,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a separate statement. “Already this year, numerous massive overdoses have resulted in dozens of overdoses and deaths. Drug traffickers create addiction and increase their profits by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs. Tragically, many overdose victims don’t have no idea they’re ingesting deadly substances, fentanyl, until it’s too late.”

January 31, 2019: Packages of mostly powdered fentanyl and methamphetamine, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection say it seized from a truck traveling through Arizona from Mexico, are displayed during a press conference at the Port of Nogales, Arizona. Courtesy of US Customs and Border Protection /Handout via Reuters

The agency cited Centers for Disease Control statistics that in a 12-month period ending in October, there were more than 105,000 drug overdoses, 66% of which were related to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

Drug trafficking mainly passes through the southern border. More than 10,586 pounds of fentanyl were seized at the southern border in fiscal year 2021 by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), up significantly from 4,558 pounds in fiscal year 2020 and 2 633 pounds in fiscal year 2019. Most of the amount seized is captured at ports of entry.


A recent report by the bipartisan Commission to Combat Synthetic Opioid Trafficking stated that the source of fentanyl in the United States evolved from 2014 to 2019, when most fentanyl came from China by international courier. Now, according to the report, it arrives from Mexico via the land border.

“The drug is manufactured there in illegal laboratories using precursors from Asia – mainly the [People’s Republic of China] — and is trafficked primarily overland to the United States,” the report said.

In its statement, the DEA said it is working to trace overdoses to local drug trafficking organizations and international cartels it says are responsible for the increased domestic drug supply. He said that in the first months of 2022, the DEA seized nearly 2,000 pounds of drugs.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy linked the spike in deaths to the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis on the southern border and noted the decision announced last week to lift the title’s public health order. 42 – which allows the rapid deportation of migrants at the border.

“President Biden has never prioritized our nation’s border security and while his decision to eliminate Title 42 may appease his far-left political base, it will come at the expense of health. and the safety of the American people,” McCarthy said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “The opioid epidemic is real and it’s devastating families across the country. And now, Biden’s sweeping open border policies will only exacerbate this crisis, causing more deadly fentanyl to flow into our neighborhoods.

McCarthy said the elimination of Title 42 “will only make this problem worse.”

“President Biden cannot ignore this drug epidemic – he must take action to stop this unprecedented flow of fentanyl and implement House Republicans’ solutions to fully implement Title 42 and secure our southern border,” did he declare.

The decision to end Title 42 has sparked concern among moderate Republicans and Democrats – who have warned the order should only end with a sufficient plan in place.

The Biden administration has said it expects a large influx of numbers in the coming months, predicting numbers of up to 18,000 a day. However, he has repeatedly stated that he is implementing a plan to deal with such an increase.


DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday that DHS has “implemented a comprehensive, government-wide strategy to manage any potential increase in the number of migrants encountered at our border.”

“We are increasing our capacity to process new arrivals, assess asylum claims and rapidly deport those not eligible for protection,” he said in a statement. “We will increase staff and resources as needed and have already redeployed over 600 border law enforcement officers. We are referring smugglers and some border residents to criminal prosecution. put in place additional and appropriate COVID-19 protocols, including scaling up our vaccination program.”

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