The US Drug Enforcement Agency has clarified that foreign fentanyl normally shipped into the US by way of the dark web has a greater risk factor than the diverted pills.
This confirms most of the research which has established fentanyl ordered from darknet markets to be the prime cause of overdose deaths in the USA.
According to researchers, fentanyl is very easy to be mailed, and the fact that it is more potent than most of the other consumed drugs makes it one of the leading killer drugs in the country.
Foreign Drug Supply on the Rise
According to the DEA, foreign drugs are much cheaper than diverted pills, earning agents more profit than the vendors of the locally produced drugs.
Fentanyl, one of these foreign drugs, has been said to be largely manufactured in China and Mexico.
The Chinese labs use mail to distribute drugs to the United States. There is an establishment of an illegal drug supply chain in the USA, Mexico and Canada that ensure that the drugs are successfully shipped to the said countries.
In a report released by the DEA, the dark web also forms a part of the medium through which the drugs are distributed to users.
Laura Hendrick, field intelligence manager for the DEA’s Philadelphia division, said that the supply of fentanyl continues to be on the rise.
This has put the risk of people facing overdose deaths on a higher level. The rise in supply has led to a higher number of drugs seized by authorities.
In 2016, authorities seized 58,102 drugs in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This number rose to 200,359 in 2017.
These seizure numbers indicate the number of drugs shipped into the various states, confirming the earlier statement made by the DEA, with it being linked to cheaper production.
The foreign drugs have contributed to a higher number of overdose deaths in most states, with Utah and Pennsylvania arguably being the most familiar ones.
Utah recorded 466 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 with an even higher value in 2017.
The percentage of opioid-related drug overdose deaths alone was 78 percent in 2016. Northumberland County, Pennsylvania recorded thirty overdose deaths in 2017, eighteen of which were fentanyl-related.
Utah has also been said to be the leading state with a high number of overdose death in recent years.
These drugs are mostly packaged into different forms and shapes before they are sent to customers who order them from the dark web.
Most of the seizures are due to interceptions made at the various postal services and borders and customs.
A report confirms that there have been cases where ambulance personnel and law enforcement personnel ended up accidentally overdosing when dusting the clothes of an overdosed victim.
Synthetic opioids have been said by the DEA to be 50 times more potent than heroine and 100 times more potent than morphine.
The deadly foreign drugs are not just fentanyl, but other narcotics as well. Authorities have therefore sent a word of caution to all narcotic users of the possible risk they face in the consumption of such drugs.
The government has also formulated plans to reduce the high risk of drug consumption faced by citizens.
The Main Concern
Todd Owen, a retired police chief, has said that the major concern of their actions of arresting drug distributors lies in the fact that there seems to be an unending cycle of supply.
“We arrest one person and two more pop up,” Owen said.
Authorities have not ceased to make arrests, however.
Many vendors have been arrested with major the drugs distributed being methamphetamine, heroine, fentanyl and ecstasy.
The number of drugs seized annually also demonstrates how much effort they have put into the fight against the high-potency foreign drugs.
Pennsylvania has been one of the states which has suffered most from these overdoses.
According to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania topped the list of states’ overdose deaths in 2017 with a total of 5,535.
Within that same period, there was a nationwide number of 68,400 overdose deaths. Pennsylvania also recorded 3,313 overdose deaths in 2015.
Statistics have shown that this number has been increasing annually.
It is not an accident that the number of users of the dark web has also been increasing annually, with some reports having directly linked the higher records of overdose death to the growth of dark web users and listings.