California authorities havr seized enough fentanyl to kill 20 million Americans. Fentanyl has a potency of 50 to 100 times that of morphine.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) has confiscated a large amount of the lethal drug fentanyl—enough to kill millions of people in the United States.
“ACSO detectives and their partners at the Narcotics Task Force recovered 92.5 pounds of illicit fentanyl at locations in Oakland and Hayward. That’s 42,000 grams that were headed for the streets of the Bay Area. This is a glimpse of the fentanyl epidemic,” the office wrote in an April 23 Twitter post.
Fentanyl has a potency of 50 to 100 times that of morphine.
According to the office, fentanyl is frequently distributed in kilograms by drug trafficking groups. 92.5 pounds is enough to kill nearly 20 million people, with one kilogram having the ability to kill 500,000 people. The entire estimated worth of the confiscated fentanyl is almost $4.2 million, based on a street value of $100 per gram.
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The seizure comes after the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a warning in early April about an increase in fentanyl-related mass overdoses. Overdoses are only classified as mass incidents by the DEA when three or more cases occur within a short amount of time in the same location.
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a letter to law enforcement agencies that there had been seven similar mass overdose instances since January, with 58 people dying, 29 of whom died from fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is highly addictive, found in all 50 states, and drug traffickers are increasingly mixing it with other types of drugs—in powder and pill form—in an effort to drive up addiction and attract repeat buyers,” Milgram wrote in the April 6 letter.
On Dec. 27, a youngster was discovered dead in Rocklin, California, after ingesting a fentanyl-laced counterfeit tablet. Zachary Didier, a skilled musician and standout athlete, was 17 years old when he died. He had swallowed the pill, mistaking it for another medication.
“This is an important message to get out that this is a big game-changer,” the teenager’s father told KCRA3. “And what may have been OK, or relatively safe in the ’70s and ’80s, or even the ’90s … this is a very different environment right now.”
To combat the opioid’s spread, some pubs throughout the nation have started giving away free fentanyl test strips. Dr. Kathleen Clanon, medical director of Alameda County Health Care Services, told Reuters that such strips are “cheap” and “super easy to use.”
This group is in charge of distributing fentanyl test strips.
“They are very sensitive, meaning that the comparison tests have shown that they are likely to show fentanyl if it’s there and I’m comfortable with that as a community test,” Clanon said.