A 34-year-old man from Chamberburg, Pennsylvania has been arrested, charged and sentenced for his role in distributing fentanyl.
Nathan A. Ott was sentenced a few weeks ago by a federal court for playing a key part in a conspiracy to distribute the deadly opioid.
Ott pleaded guilty before the court last summer for crimes that were allegedly committed between the year 2015 and 2017.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the man is now expected to serve 17 years in prison.
Furthermore, he was directed to relinquish a considerable amount of Bitcoin that translates to $120,000.
The conclusion of this case came after the Franklin County Drug Task Force of Pennsylvania completed an investigation into the exploits of Ott.
The investigation yielded thousands of fentanyl pills, a number of pill presses and fentanyl powder that was stashed inside a store room located in Hamilton County.
Ott is said to have acquired large amounts of fentanyl, in kilograms, from the dark web. Reportedly, the darknet-sourced substances were pressed and distributed in pill form.
From the beginning, Ott succeeded in managing the operation, thanks to his possession of a manual pill press that was mentioned in court records.
It is said that Ott’s business was prompted to evolve according to an increasing demand for fentanyl.
In response, Ott acquired a motorized pill press that would churn out a startling 5,000 pills per hour.
The court learned that Ott used various distribution channels to present the drugs to clients.
Mainly, he sold fentanyl over the internet with the help of co-conspirators that were in direct contact with customers. As at now, the six co-conspirators are awaiting trial.
The Third Wave: What Do the Latest Reports Say About the U.S. Fentanyl Epidemic?
The Nathan Ott drug case is among the examples of a never-ending profusion of cases involving a drug known to be a hundred times stronger than heroin—widespread incidents that have riddled the American society with a mind-boggling drug overdose burden.
The recent spike in overdose-related deaths have been attributed to the recent upsurge in fentanyl abuse.
Actually, fentanyl-related deaths account for more mortality rates when compared with the statistics of prescription painkillers.
According to the latest report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the figures explicating drug overdose deaths related to fentanyl and its derivatives nearly doubled between late 2016 and early 2017.
Currently, at the national level, statistical figures for 2017 are still preliminary but the CDC warns that the numbers of opioid-related deaths is expected to hit a new record.
Relatedly, more than half of these casualties will be connected to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
The CDC has termed the recent rise in popularity of opioids as the “Third Wave” of the drug epidemic.
Notably, the first wave was associated with the irresponsible prescription of painkillers to patients across the U.S. These drugs included oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Then, the second wave was attributed to the upsurge in heroin use.
It is important to highlight the fact that all the drugs implicated in the three waves share particular similarities in how the victims’ brains respond to the stimuli.
Scientists have explained this phenomenon by stating that these substances have been found to act on the same receptors located in the human brain.
The spike in drug overdose-related cases blamed on fentanyl and its analogs reflects the results found by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regarding the opioid epidemic.
The DEA has conducted drug tests in the recent past, and an increasingly high rate of fentanyl positives have been detected in the laboratory analyses.
In actuality, the agency provides that positive fentanyl samples rose from 14,400 in 2005 to an eye-watering 34,119 the following year.
A Congressional Probe into Drug Distribution Practices
Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Senator, launched a probe into the nation’s pharmaceutical industry in the context of the U.S. opioid crisis.
The investigation targeted some of the most successful pharma organizations that deal in prescription medications.
In this taste, the process was tasked with the function of evaluating the big pharma’s prior knowledge about the potential health risks disposed to consumers.
This information was expected to date back to about five years, with a focus on the companies’ marketing and strategies.
Expectedly, the McCaskill investigation has unraveled loopholes in the pharmaceutical value chain.
This is more specific to the distribution strategies that direct the drug business.
Serious inconsistencies were identified as attributed to suspicious orders handled over the past decade.
To refresh your knowledge, the Controlled Substances Act provides that all distributors have an obligation to cooperate with the DEA in tackling cases of suspicious orders.
In this case, they are expected to report the occurrence of suspicious orders or those of unusual size.
A Failed Pharmaceutical Industry
The investigation discovered that manufacturers, hospitals and pharmacies invariably failed at reporting.
Even though the investigative report did not highlight any illegal activity, it exposed a very important aspect in the U.S. drug epidemic—systemic failures.
Legal drugs are sometimes shipped from one point to the other, but end up being diverted to the dark web.
In a statement, McCaskill declared the failure of policy in combating the Opioid Epidemic in the country.
Additionally, the failure of basic human morality in the context of the powerful big pharma has led to the destruction of the nation’s basic fiber.
While the senator’s efforts may have some impact on the drug problem in the U.S., there is no denying that the dark web has entered the scene to offer drug distribution channels that never existed before.
In this regard, fighting the opioid epidemic will not be easy—not in the near future.
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