DEA warns of ‘nationwide spike’ in fentanyl-related mass-overdose deaths, as border disaster rages

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The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning of a “nationwide spike” in fentanyl-related mass overdoses because it says the drug is killing Individuals at an “unprecedented” fee – deaths that prime Republicans are tying to the continuing disaster on the southern border.

“The DEA is seeing a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass-overdose events involving three or more overdoses occurring close in time at the same location,” the company mentioned in a letter to federal, state and native legislation enforcement.

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The company mentioned there have been no less than seven mass-overdose occasions, involving 58 overdoses and 29 deaths. The overdoses occurred in states together with Colorado, Texas, Nebraska and Florida.

The company mentioned that lots of the victims believed they had been taking cocaine, and didn’t know that it was laced with fentanyl – a lethal drug that’s 50-100 occasions stronger than morphine.

“Fentanyl is killing Americans at an unprecedented rate,” mentioned DEA Administrator Anne Milgram in a separate assertion. “Already this year, numerous mass-overdose events have resulted in dozens of overdoses and deaths. Drug traffickers are driving addiction, and increasing their profits, by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs. Tragically, many overdose victims have no idea they are ingesting deadly fentanyl, until it’s too late.”

Jan 31, 2019: Packets of fentanyl mostly in powder form and methamphetamine, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they seized from a truck crossing into Arizona from Mexico, is on display during a news conference at the Port of Nogales, Arizona. Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Handout via Reuters

Jan 31, 2019: Packets of fentanyl largely in powder kind and methamphetamine, which U.S. Customs and Border Safety say they seized from a truck crossing into Arizona from Mexico, is on show throughout a information convention on the Port of Nogales, Arizona. Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Safety/Handout by way of Reuters
(Reuters)

The company cited Facilities for Illness Management statistics that in a 12-month interval ending in October, there have been greater than 105,000 drug overdoses – 66% of which had been associated to fentanyl and different artificial opioids.

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The drug is primarily trafficked by way of the southern border. Greater than 10,586 lbs of fentanyl had been seized on the southern border in FY 2021 by Customs and Border Safety (CBP), up considerably from the 4,558 lbs in FY 2020 and a pair of,633 in FY 2019. A lot of the quantity seized is caught at ports of entry.

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A latest report by the bipartisan Fee on Combating Artificial Opioid Trafficking mentioned the supply of fentanyl into the U.S. has advanced from 2014-2019, when most fentanyl got here in from China by way of worldwide mail. Now, the report mentioned, it is available in from Mexico by way of the land border.

“The drug is manufactured in illegal laboratories there using precursors from Asia – mainly the [People’s Republic of China] – and is trafficked principally by land into the United States,” the report mentioned.

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In its assertion, the DEA mentioned it’s working to hint the overdoses again to native drug trafficking organizations and worldwide cartels who it mentioned are accountable for the surging home provide of the drug. It mentioned that within the first months of 2022, DEA seized almost 2,000 lbs of the drug.

Home Republican Chief Kevin McCarthy linked the spike in deaths to the Biden administration’s dealing with of the disaster on the southern border and famous the choice introduced final week to elevate the Title 42 public well being order — which permits for the speedy expulsion of migrants on the border.

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

McCarthy mentioned that the elimination of Title 42 “will only make this problem much worse.”

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“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 enforce Title 42 and secure our southern border,” he mentioned.

The choice to finish Title 42 sparked concern from each Republicans and reasonable Democrats – who’ve warned that the order ought to solely be ended with a enough plan in place. 

The Biden administration has mentioned that it expects a major inflow of numbers within the months forward, planning for numbers of as much as 18,000 a day. Nonetheless, it has repeatedly mentioned that it’s implementing a plan to take care of such a rise.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday mentioned that DHS has “put in place a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to manage any potential increase in the number of migrants encountered at our border.”

“We are increasing our capacity to process new arrivals, evaluate asylum requests, and quickly remove those who do not qualify for protection,” he mentioned in an announcement. “We will increase personnel and resources as needed and have already redeployed more than 600 law enforcement officers to the border. We are referring smugglers and certain border crossers for criminal prosecution. Over the next two months, we are putting in place additional, appropriate COVID-19 protocols, including ramping up our vaccination program.”

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