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DEA Warns of Growing Fentanyl Danger From Mexican Cartels

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has expressed concerns about the increasing danger of illicit fentanyl being sourced from Mexican cartels. According to the DEA’s most recent National Drug Threat Assessment, the purity level of illicit fentanyl in the U.S. drug market has risen, and the presence of fentanyl in counterfeit prescription pills has also increased. These developments are making fentanyl, already recognized as the nation’s top drug threat, even more hazardous.

The DEA’s analysis has revealed that the average fentanyl pill in 2022 contained 2.4 milligrams of the potent opioid, an increase from previous years. Furthermore, their forensic chemists identified that approximately 7 out of 10 fake pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, marking a significant increase from 2021. Additionally, the purity of powdered fentanyl has risen, with the average purity of fentanyl powder samples at 19.2% in 2022, a 33% increase since 2021.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram has emphasized the magnitude of the threat posed by illicit fentanyl, attributing the growing problem to two Mexican drug cartels utilizing precursor chemicals from China to produce synthetic drugs. The DEA report also revealed that illicit fentanyl was responsible for nearly 38,000 American deaths in the first six months of 2023. 

Synthetic opioids were involved in 74,225 deaths in 2022, accounting for 68% of the total 111,036 deaths that year, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Milgram underscored the global reach of the two cartels, highlighting their extensive supply chain networks and secretive drug manufacturing operations in Mexico, which are then used to distribute the drugs into the United States. These developments raise serious concerns about the impact of these criminal enterprises on public health and safety.

The DEA’s findings shed light on the severity of the fentanyl crisis and the need for concerted efforts to address the sources of this deadly drug, particularly the role played by Mexican cartels in its production and distribution.

Written by Staff Reports

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