COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than 50.6 million fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder in 2022.
In Michigan, Ohio and Northern Kentucky alone, personnel seized more than 280,00 fentanyl-laced pills and over 600 pounds of fentanyl powder – more than 19 million deadly doses.
The DEA estimated that the drugs seized nationwide represents more than 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl, according to a release.
Fentanyl is a highly addictive man-made opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and is considered the deadliest drug threat facing the U.S. The release states that just two milligrams of fentanyl are considered a potentially deadly dose.
The DEA said its top priority is to take down two Mexican drug cartels – the Sinaloa and Jalisco (CJNG) Cartels – that are primarily responsible for the fentanyl that is killing Americans.
Most of the fentanyl trafficked by the Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels is being mass-produced at secret factories in Mexico with chemicals sourced largely from China. In 2021, the DEA issued a Public Safety Alert on the widespread drug trafficking of fentanyl in the form of fake prescription pills.
The pills are made to look identical to real prescription medications—including OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax—but only contain filler and fentanyl, and are often deadly.
In 2022, DEA seized more than double the amount of fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills that it seized in 2021. DEA also seized nearly 131,000 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 4,300 pounds of heroin, and over 444,000 pounds of cocaine.