Border Patrol agents in Yuma, Arizona discovered and intercepted enough fentanyl, a highly-potent synthetic opioid, to kill 200,000 people, according to a recent U.S. Customs and Border Protection press release. The seizure was made last Thursday at the Wellton Station, which makes up 65 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico, when agents were inspecting a vehicle moving through the checkpoint.
A Border Patrol canine alerted agents to the vehicle and a secondary inspection uncovered two plastic bags wrapped in hospital gowns full of fentanyl pills. The packages weighed 1.276 pounds and were valued at $18,500.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Derek Maltz, who once charged the Drug Enforcement Agency’s special operations division, says it takes the equivalent of four grains of salt in fentanyl to kill the average adult male.
Maltz appeared in The Dark Wire’s 2018 documentary “Not in Vein.” Click here to watch the film.
Although overdose death rates decreased by 4.1% between 2017 and 2018, synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths rose by 20% in 2018. In 2018, synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, claimed the lives of nearly 31,335 Americans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates.
“Decreases in overdose deaths involving prescription opioids and heroin reflect the effectiveness of public health efforts to protect Americans and their families,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. in a March 2020 statement. “While we continue work to improve those outcomes, we are also addressing the increase in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids. We must bring this epidemic to an end.”