Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Skyrocket over 1,000 Percent in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County saw accidental fentanyl overdose deaths increase more than twelvefold from 2016 to 2021, according to a new County Public Health Department report.

Accidental fentanyl overdoses killed 1,504 people in the county last year, a roughly 1,280% rise compared to the 109-individual death toll in 2016, according to the report released Tuesday. Total accidental drug overdose deaths more than doubled in that time, with deaths from accidental opioid overdoses and methamphetamine overdoses both rising by over 300%.

Adults from 26 to 39 years old had the highest accidental fentanyl overdose rate of any age group in 2020, while 18- to 25-year-olds had the highest fentanyl overdose hospitalization rate that year, based on the report’s data. Men died of accidental fentanyl overdoses at a far higher rate than women.

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Miyares Launches ‘One Pill Can Kill’ Campaign Warning of Dangers of Counterfeit Drugs

Attorney General Jason Miyares announced a “One Pill Can Kill” awareness campaign over the risks of fentanyl and counterfeit drugs to try to launch conversations among families ahead of the holidays.

The opioid epidemic has had a devastating effect on our Commonwealth. There isn’t a corner of our state that hasn’t been touched by its pain and destruction. Tragically, overdose deaths are now not limited to addiction, but to counterfeit pills laced with a highly potent, deadly substance – fentanyl,” Miyares said in a press release Tuesday. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many young people overdose and die after experimenting with these powerful drugs. As a father, this new threat terrifies me. That’s why I launched ‘One Pill Can Kill,’ a public awareness initiative aimed at generating conversations around the dangers of counterfeit drugs and fentanyl.”

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Opioid Epidemic in 2020 Cost Virginia Nearly $3.5 Billion

The opioid epidemic in Virginia cost almost $3.5 billion in 2020, according to a new cost calculator from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Commonwealth University. On average, over four Virginians died of an opioid overdose each day in 2020, according to a VDH announcement of the cost calculator.

“This burden is carried by Virginia’s workers, employers, and governments, and includes both future losses and current direct spending that could have been avoided,” the calculator’s site explains. “Virginia families and businesses take on a large amount of these costs, mostly due to lost future worker productivity. Federal, state, and local governments also see increased healthcare and government costs and lost future tax revenues. The cost burden of the opioid epidemic is split among several sectors.”

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DEA: 36 Million Lethal Doses of Fentanyl Removed from U.S. Communities Between May and September

As a result of law enforcement operations from May through September of this year, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and law enforcement partners confiscated 36 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill 36 million Americans.

As part of the DEA’s One Pill Can Kill initiative, DEA agents and law enforcement partners in multiple states seized more than 10.2 million fentanyl pills and approximately 980 pounds of fentanyl powder.

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Commentary: Youngkin Is Right – Under Democrat Rule, Virginia Is a Border State

Recently, Virginia Democrats and dishonest mainstream media pundits have attempted to dunk on Governor Youngkin for saying that under Democrat rule, “Virginia is a border state.” But while Virginia doesn’t share a physical border with Mexico, Governor Youngkin’s comments nonetheless underscore a stark reality for Americans in Virginia and throughout the entire country – thanks to Joe Biden and failed Democrat policies, every state is now a border state.

Governor Youngkin’s comments on Fox News were in reference to the opioid crisis that is sweeping our nation – a crisis that Democrats are apparently oblivious to or unwilling to acknowledge is directly related to the surge of illegal immigration at our southern border. The entire country, not just border states, is experiencing a spike in fentanyl overdoses as thousands of pounds of the deadly narcotic pour into the country. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 107,000 fatal drug overdoses in 2021, the highest number on record. In just the past two months, border patrol officers have seized more than 5 million fentanyl pills at just the border crossing in Nogales, Arizona.

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Commentary: The Opioids Crisis’ Impact on America’s Economy

Strung out on drugs half her life, Brandi Edwards, 29, said the longest she held a job before getting sober four years ago was “about two and a half months.”

“I worked at an AT&T call center, a day-care center for a month, fast food places, but I had to take drugs to get out of bed in the morning and when I did show up, I wasn’t productive,” the West Virginia mother of three told RealClearInvestigations. “The first paycheck came along and I was out of there.”

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Nation’s Second-Largest School District Stocks Overdose Reversal Drugs After Student Deaths

The second-largest school district in the country is stocking its schools with naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, following student deaths, according to a Thursday news release.

In the recent weeks, nine students have died from overdoses in the Los Angeles Unified School District, with one student overdosing in the bathroom after obtaining a pill containing fentanyl from a peer, according to the Los Angeles Times. Every school in the district, beginning with elementary schools, will be stocked with the nasal spray version of naloxone, or Narcan, according to news release by the school.

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Florida and Connecticut Attorneys General Lead Bipartisan Effort to Classify Illicit Fentanyl as Weapon of Mass Destruction

fentanyl pills on the hood of a vehicle

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong are leading a multistate, bipartisan effort urging President Joe Biden to classify illicit fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD).

“I first called for President Biden to take swift action in July and call fentanyl what it is – a weapon of mass destruction,” Moody said. “Now, I am leading a bipartisan coalition of 18 attorneys general demanding the president take action now, declare fentanyl a WMD and join us in our fight to prevent the death and destruction caused by this highly-lethal substance from getting even worse.”

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Four Alleged Cartel Members Charged with Sending Money to China for Fentanyl Production

Fentanyl

Four alleged cartel members were charged in connection with an international money laundering operation that involved sending funds to China to produce fentanyl.

The four New Jersey men, William Panzera, 49, Thomas Padovano, 48, Bartholomew Padovano, 71, and Sean Tighe, 46, were indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of New Jersey Wednesday, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

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Border Agents Stop Driver Attempting to Smuggle More than Enough Fentanyl to Kill the Entire Population of San Diego

Border Patrol agents in California on Monday seized enough fentanyl to kill over 2 million people. The population of San Diego is an estimated 1.4 million.

Agents in the El Centro border sector searched the vehicle at a highway checkpoint, where they found six black packages wrapped in cellophane hidden inside the car’s dashboard and air vents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Wednesday. The male driver, 53, and the female passenger, 27, in the car were both from Mexico and didn’t have the proper documents to be in the U.S.

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CBP Officers Seize Enough Fentanyl to Kill over 12 Million People

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the California-Mexico border recently made a single seizure of fentanyl with the potential to kill over 12 million people.

CBP officers stationed at the Calexico West Port of Entry searched a vehicle on June 6 coming in from Mexico, finding 43 packages of blue pills containing fentanyl hidden in the car’s gas tank, according to a Tuesday press release.

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Drug-Plagued State Sees Record Overdoses Thanks to Fentanyl Epidemic

Kentucky has seen a record year of overdose deaths as it continues to deal with fentanyl being trafficked into the state, multiple outlets reported based on state data released Monday.

Kentucky saw 2,250 overdose deaths in 2021, a 14.5% increase from 2020, according to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy’s report. The state ranked third in the country for the number of overdose deaths due to the high number that occurred in Kentucky during the pandemic, according to WLKY.

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Border Authorities Seize Enough Fentanyl to Kill Millions

Border authorities in Texas seized 22 pounds of fentanyl worth $339,300 that a smuggler was attempting to drive into the U.S. on Wednesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says that 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be enough to kill a person, 22 pounds is 9,979,032 milligrams. Applying the DEA’s own metrics, this means the latest seizure is enough to kill 4,989,516 people.

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CBP’s Air and Marine Operations Interdicted 62 Tons of Drugs in First Three Months of Year

Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations interdicted 62 tons (124,000 pounds) of illicit drugs in the first three months of this year, CBP reports, working with international, federal, state and local partners.

“Collaboration keeps us all safer,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said of their efforts. “CBP AMO works with U.S. and international partners to stem the flow of illicit narcotics. Through the end of March, AMO has contributed to the seizure of over 124,000 lbs of narcotics by partner agencies.”

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Commentary: Will the Great Betrayal of American Democracy Go Unchallenged This November?

Upon taking office, Biden swiftly implemented these promises, escalating the crisis. He reinstituted the Obama-era policy of releasing migrants apprehended at the border into the interior of the country, pending hearings they often skip. His Department of Homeland Security secretly transported migrants across the country in the dead of night to avoid public scrutiny. Confronted with a court order to reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy, Biden passively refused to comply.

In March, monthly border encounters hit a new record of 221,303, beating the previous record (also set by Biden) of 213,953 in July. Biden has funneled 1 million illegal aliens into the United States in just over a year.

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Cartels Selling Fentanyl to Migrants, Locals in Northern Mexico

Fentanyl

As cartels continue to devastate American communities with fentanyl, they’re now finding more customers for the drug in northern Mexico, Noticias Telemundo reported.

Migrants and locals just south of the border, in areas like Tijuana, Mexico, are seeing more users on the streets turning to the drug, the report detailed.

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DEA Warns Law Enforcement to Prepare for a Surge in ‘Mass-Overdose Events’ from Fentanyl

Amid an epidemic of overdose deaths caused largely by fentanyl, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning state, local and federal law enforcement of a spike in “mass-overdose events.”

“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,” a letter the DEA sent to law enforcement offices across the country Wednesday said.

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Ohio, Arizona, and West Virginia Among the States Seeking Solutions to Fentanyl Crisis

Multiple U.S. states, ultimately seeing little action from the federal government on the matter, have taken it upon themselves to roll out solutions for combatting the ongoing flow of deadly fentanyl into the United States.

As reported by ABC News, two major methods have emerged from the handful of states that are directly addressing this issue: One camp seeks to reduce the risks to drug-users while also imposing steeper penalties for dealing fentanyl, while the other approach involved calling for more federal intervention, with some of these states taking it upon themselves to guard the southern border and prevent the trafficking of fentanyl into the country from Mexico.

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Border Patrol Officials Make Massive Fentanyl, Meth, and Heroin Seizures at the Southern Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers recently intercepted two smuggling attempts of millions of dollars worth of deadly drugs at the southern border.

Officers in Laredo, Texas, on March 25 confiscated over $4.3 million in alleged meth they found in a tractor trailer carrying waterproof sealant from Mexico, CBP said in a press release.

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Authorities Confiscate 150,000 Fentanyl Pills in Largest Seizure in Oregon’s History

fentanyl pills on the hood of a vehicle

A joint federal and local law enforcement operation in Portland, Oregon, recently led to the largest single seizure of fentanyl in the state’s history, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The March 1 seizure included around 150,000 counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl and 20 pounds of suspected bulk fentanyl, the DOJ said in a press release. The contraband reportedly had an estimated street value of around $4 million.

The drugs were confiscated as a result of the arrest of four drug traffickers, the DOJ said. The ringleader of the group, Ufrano Orozco Munoz, 27, was allegedly involved in a conspiracy to traffic fentanyl from Mexico and other areas for distribution and sale in Oregon.

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‘Tragic’: Border Officers Catch Several Female American Citizens Storing Nearly a Pound of Fentanyl in Their Bodies

Close up of white pills

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in El Paso, Texas, in the last two weeks have intercepted multiple American women carrying fentanyl concealed in their private areas.

“It is tragic that people are willing to put themselves in these dangerous situations,” CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector A. Mancha said in a statement. “This synthetic opioid is so powerful that if a package were to rupture inside the body, the consequences could be life threatening.”

On Feb. 24 a 31-year-old woman, who is a U.S. citizen, was carrying .394 pounds of fentanyl that she removed from her inside private parts after a pat down, where CBP officers at the Port of Ysleta felt something foreign in her private area during a secondary search, according to CBP.

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Attorney General Schmidt: Kansas Sees Large Spikes in Fentanyl Seizures, Drug Overdoses

Record amounts of fentanyl and other drugs are being seized in Kansas after they’ve made their way north from Mexico and the state’s attorney general, Derek Schmidt, said he is trying to stop it. He joined a coalition of other Republican attorneys general at the Texas-Mexico border to see first-hand how the Biden administration’s open border policies are contributing to crime in Kansas.

In one briefing with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the AGs learned that Texas state troopers alone had seized enough fentanyl last year to kill over 200 million people. They also arrested more than 10,000 illegal immigrants for committing state crimes, including for child trafficking and drug smuggling, seized over five tons of methamphetamine, and over $17 million in cash as part of Operation Lone Star, Texas’ border security initiative.

While it’s “good news that they’re seizing more, there’s no reason to think that there’s less of it eluding seizure at the border because the border’s wide open in large swaths,” Schmidt told The Center Square. “I don’t think it’s a good news number. I think it’s an indication of the increased volume coming across the border, not an indication of increased success in stopping it at the border.”

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16 Republican AGs Seek Federal Pressure on China, Mexico over Fentanyl Crisis

Antony Blinken

Sixteen Republican state attorneys general are calling on Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to take action against China and Mexico for their role in creating a fentanyl crisis in the U.S.

“China’s complete unwillingness to police the production and distribution of fentanyl precursors and Mexico’s subsequent failure to control illegal manufacturing of fentanyl using those precursors,” the attorneys general argue, poses a daily threat to Americans.

West Virginia and Arizona are leading the effort. Joining them are the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. They say they’ve witnessed an “extraordinary tide of senseless death from fentanyl” in their states.

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Border Patrol Saw 134 Percent Increase in Fentanyl Seizures in Fiscal Year 2021

The lethal synthetic drug fentanyl has been increasingly trafficked into the U.S., and, in fiscal year 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported a 134% increase in seizures of the illicit drug.

Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and a lethal dose is about 2 milligrams, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which has recently warned about the increase in fentanyl-laced pills cartels in Mexico are manufacturing with chemicals provided by China.

The drug is fueling an overdose epidemic in the U.S., and is the leading killer 18-45 year olds nationwide.

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Arizona Seizes Record Amount of Fentanyl, Now Cited as Leading Cause of Death of Young Americans

Fentanyl

Authorities in Arizona seized $9 million worth of fentanyl pills in the state’s largest bust of the illicit drug – enough, they said, to kill half the population of Arizona.

The bust comes after a nonprofit group cites fentanyl as the leading cause of death among Americans between the age of 18 and 45. Arizona and Texas attorneys general and governors vowed to fight what they called the “lawlessness of the Biden administration,” which they argue is enabling fentanyl to be brought into the U.S. through its open border policies.

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Fentanyl Overdoses Leading Cause of Deaths in America in 2020

The government has reported that, since the year 2020, fentanyl overdoses have become the new leading cause of death for American adults between the ages of 18 and 45, as reported by Fox News.

The analysis from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) shows that nearly 79,000 Americans died from the drug between 2020 and 2021. Of those, just over 37,000 died in 2020 while almost 42,000 died in 2021. Fentanyl is an opioid that is sometimes laced with other drugs such as meth and heroin when used by addicts, but can also be deadly on its own in even small doses. The primary foreign sources for imports of the drug are China and Mexico.

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Commentary: U.S. Drug Agents Ramp Up Fentanyl Counterattack on Chinese Mainland — as DEA Faces Its Own Troubles at Home

U.S. drug agents are expanding operations in China – six years after America’s largest trading partner and global rival emerged as the main source of chemicals used to make highly lethal fentanyl. It’s now claiming 65,000 American lives a year.

The small crew of about a dozen Drug Enforcement Administration agents, including those in new outposts in Shanghai and Guangzhou, is nearly double the number in 2018. They face what seems like mission impossible: collaborating with Chinese agents to try to bust traffickers hidden somewhere in a sprawling export supply chain that’s linked to 160,000 companies.

“It’s such a massive chemical industry, and then there are layer upon layer of traders, brokers and freight forwarders,” says Russ Holske, the DEA’s director for the Far East, who set up the new offices in China before he retired. “It’s a daunting challenge.”

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Addiction-Based Mental Health Crisis Still Getting Worse in Virginia

During the beginning of COVID-19, hospital inpatient volume and emergency department visits decreased, in part due to people postponing treatment. But the same data showed an increase in the number of patients getting treatment for alcohol, drug use, and related mental disorders, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) reported in April. In a Friday press conference, VHHA Vice President of Data and Analytics David Vaamonde reported that increased treatment for those kinds of disorders continued into the first two quarters of 2021 — one of only two Major Diagnostic Categories (MDCs) that saw growth since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We’re looking at MDCs where volumes actually increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have alcohol and drug use, and drug induced organic mental health disorders, obviously a very concerning trend there, and then diseases and disorders of the respiratory system and infectious and parasitic diseases,” Vaamonde said, adding that the respiratory, infectious, and parasitic categories line up with what a COVID-19 patient would have.

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Commentary: The Migrant Surge at the Southern Border Fuels Massive American Fentanyl Overdoses

On a September afternoon, Allyssia Solorio wondered why her energetic young brother hadn’t emerged from his bedroom in their Sacramento, Calif., home. When she opened his door, she saw 23-year-old Mikael leaning back on his bed with his legs dangling over the side. She rushed to her brother and shook him, but to no avail. He was dead. A counterfeit pharmaceutical pill laced with illicit fentanyl had killed him.

Mikael Tirado was one of an estimated 93,331 overdose fatalities in the United States last year – an all-time high. Nearly five times the murder rate, the deadly overdose toll was primarily caused by fentanyl, a highly lethal synthetic opioid. It’s manufactured mostly by Mexican cartels with ingredients imported from China, and then smuggled over the southwestern U.S. border. Fentanyl has been arriving in larger quantities each year since at least 2016.

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In One Year, Encounters Triple with Migrants Attempting to Cross Southern Border Illegally

In one year, Customs and Border Protection agents encountered triple the number of people entering the U.S. illegally compared to the previous year. From October 2020 to September 2021, 1,734,686 people were encountered at the U.S. southern border.

From October 2019 to September 2020, that number was 458,088.

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Snapchat Tries to Stop Users from Buying Fentanyl on Its Platform, but It’s ‘Too Little Too Late’ for Some

Snapchat is putting in place new safety measures to try and stop young users buying and selling fentanyl on its platform, the company announced Thursday.

The company unveiled an in-app education portal called “Heads Up” in a blog post Thursday designed to provide young users with information from substance abuse advocacy groups including Song for Charlie, Shatterproof, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on the dangers of fentanyl. Snapchat also said it is planning on adding health information from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in the coming weeks.

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U.S. Authorities Seize 1.8 Million Illicit Pills Laced with Fentanyl, Point to Social Media for Rising Drug Traffic

U.S. authorities criticized social media for an uptick in drug trafficking following a massive seizure of over a million fentanyl-laced pills and hundreds of drug dealer arrests.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced Monday that it, alongside various law enforcement partners, seized over 1.8 million fake pills laced with fentanyl and arrested over 800 alleged drug dealers over the course of a two-month drug bust beginning in August. Authorities have criticized social media companies that have failed to stop the sale of these illicit drugs on their platforms.

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More Lethal Fentanyl Found Along the Southern Border this Year Than Last

Federal authorities have seized significantly more fentanyl along the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona and California since October than they did in the entire 2020 fiscal year.

Since October, authorities have seized 7.000 pounds of the drug, compared to just 4,500 pounds in the entire last fiscal year, according to data from Customs and Boarder Protection. The reasoning, according to authorities, is simply supply and demand.

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Commentary: Fentanyl Is Spreading Like Wildfire

Fentanyl

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 6,494 pounds of fentanyl in the first four months of 2021. This is much higher than the 4,776 pounds seized in all of 2020. While it is impressive that CBP has removed this much of the deadly drug from the market, the majority of the fentanyl brought into the U.S. is not seized, and increasing amounts of fentanyl are reaching Americans. The drug, a synthetic opioid, was invented in 1960 for medical applications and is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. In recent years, Mexico-based criminal organizations have been manufacturing the highly addictive drug, often mixed with other substances, and distributing it throughout the United States.

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Border Officials Seized More Fentanyl in the First Four Months of 2021 Than During the Same Period in 2020

Border officials seized nearly 2,400 more pounds of fentanyl from January to April 2021 than during the same period in 2020, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Officials seized nearly 3,290 pounds of fentanyl in the first four months of 2021 compared to around 920 pounds in the same timeframe of 2020, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Border officials seized a total of 7,300 pounds of fentanyl from January to December 2020.

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2020 Was Record Year for Fatal Drug Overdoses in Virginia

Virginia had another record year for fatal drug overdoses in 2020. In 2019, Virginia had a record 1,627 fatal drug overdoses, but in 2020 that number spiked by 41.2 percent to 2,297, fueled by fentanyl overdoses, according to a fourth-quarter report from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

“The pandemic exacerbated drug deaths and last I checked, something like 40-plus states reported big increases in overdose deaths since the pandemic began,” VDH Statewide Forensic Epidemiologist Kathrin Hobron told The Virginia Star.

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Martha Boneta Commentary: It Is Time to Declare Fentanyl a Weapon of Mass Destruction

When it comes to Fentanyl, it is hard for us to think beyond the sheer human tragedy. 

It is hard for us to think beyond the 32,000 lost to overdoses from this drug in 2018 – up from 28,000 the year before.  

It is hard for us to think beyond the suffering James Rauh of Cleveland has endured. His son, Thomas, injured himself in a roller-blading accident and was prescribed opioids to deal with the pain. The son became addicted, turned to heroin and died when unbeknownst to him, he injected a dose of pure fentanyl that was provided by the drug dealer.   

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George Floyd Had ‘Fentanyl Intoxication’ and ‘Recent Methamphetamine Use,’ Autopsy Shows

George Floyd had fentanyl in his system and had recently used methamphetamine before his death, which was ruled a homicide, according to a county medical examiner autopsy released Monday.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report said Floyd experienced “fentanyl intoxication” and “recent methamphetamine use” were “significant conditions” leading to his death. The report ultimately deemed his death a “homicide” due to law enforcement restraint and “neck compression” that contributed to a heart attack.

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