From June 2020 to May 2021, more than half of the 100,000 drug overdoses in the United States were attributed to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. It’s no secret that they have plagued the United States with abuse, addiction, and overdoses for years. But where do these dangerous drugs come from, and how do they make their way to market? A recent CNN article discussed a new government report that aimed to answer these questions.
The report found that 70% to 80% of fentanyl seized by the feds between 2014 and 2019 came from China. Now Mexico is the “dominant source” of fentanyl in the U.S.; it’s mainly trafficked by land across the border, but the report mentioned increased use of USPS by the Mexican cartels. Synthetic opioids are becoming more prevalent in established heroin markets as they are cheaper and much more potent. In addition to being added to heroin, fentanyl is also manufactured into counterfeit tablets with brand names like Adderall and Xanax.
The report includes recommended policy changes that could alter the course of the country’s battle with synthetic opioids. This includes more support from the Cabinet, improved investigations into overdose deaths, and federal law enforcement partnering with social media companies to identify synthetic opioid vendors.