(VitalNews.org) – US Attorney General Merrick Garland recently met with families who had lost loved ones to fentanyl, a dangerous drug approximately 50 times more powerful than heroin. While speaking at the second annual Family Summit on Fentanyl held in Washington DC, Garland told the audience that in 2023 alone, law enforcement agencies had managed to recover 55 million fentanyl pills, as well as 9000 pounds of powder containing the deadly opioid.
Fatal drug abuse has increased rapidly in recent years, with fentanyl accounting for many of the lethal overdoses. In 2010, America saw less than 40,000 people die from drug overdoses, with fentanyl being the cause of under 10% of those fatalities. In 2010, most of the deaths were attributable to other forms of opioids: heroin, or prescribed drugs. In 2022, 110,757 Americans died as a result of taking fentanyl alone.
As of September 2023, the USA has already seen over 100,000 people lose their lives to the drug, including a 1-year-old boy who died after fentanyl was left under a sleeping mat at his Bronx daycare. The daycare owner and her husband have since been arrested.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has ramped up its efforts against the trafficking of fentanyl, with DEA administrator Anne Milgram telling the Family Summit that there were currently 600 open investigations into overdose deaths, a figure she described as still inadequate. More funds have been allocated to combat the problem, with Garland creating a budget of $345 million for prevention, treatment, and education.
The origins of the drug and the routes it travels to reach American streets and homes have been the subject of heated debate. Senator McCarthy, the Republican House Speaker, has demanded that the Biden administration do more to prevent illegal movement of people and drugs across the Mexican border in the US. Illegal migration into the US has seen border agents experience a record number of encounters with illegal migrants, with 142,000 migrants recorded at the border in the first half of September.
The White House in turn claims that the temporary spending agreement, or continuing resolution, that House Republicans have suggested would in fact result in fewer agents on the border and would make life easier for drug cartels working to move their goods into the US.
Copyright 2023, VitalNews.org