Fentanyl is ‘the greatest challenge facing the United States as a country,’ says Department of Homeland Security secretary – drug wiping out 75,000 Americans a year
Fentanyl is the “greatest challenge facing the United States as a country,” the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security said.
Alejandro Mayorkas made the comment during a Senate hearing on Wednesday, in what is believed to be the first time a Cabinet minister in the Biden administration has described the opioid in such harsh terms.
Mr. Mayorkas spoke of more than 70,000 Americans dying in 2021 due to fentanyl overdoses.
The drug has become the leading cause of death among people aged 18 to 49 in the United States, according to an analysis of government data by The Washington Post.
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, told Mayorkas he wants the fentanyl crisis to be the department’s top priority for 2024.
Fentanyl deaths in the United States increased in the 2010s. At the start of the decade, 2,666 Americans died from fentanyl overdoses. This figure jumped to 19,413 in 2016. Covid made the situation worse, with a record 72,484 deaths recorded in 2021
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said fentanyl was the “greatest challenge facing the United States as a country” during a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
Sen Murphy said, “This budget better do everything humanly possible to stop the importation of deadly fentanyl into the United States.”
According to US Customs and Border Protection, the vast majority of fentanyl enters the United States through legal ports of entry, in vehicles
The powerful synthetic opioid is 50 times stronger than heroin and 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is used by doctors for patients in severe pain or with terminal illnesses.
It is cheap, highly addictive, relatively easy to smuggle into the United States, and profitable for dealers to mix it into their supplies, saving them money and may prolong or increase the high experienced by users. users.
Fentanyl sells for less than $5 a pill on American streets.
But many users don’t even know they’re ingesting fentanyl when they buy their drugs. It is now found in everything from cocaine to molly and street benzodiazepines like Xanax.
The Department of Homeland Security includes Customs and Border Protection, the agency responsible for keeping illegal fentanyl and other narcotics from entering America.
According to US Customs and Border Protection, the vast majority of fentanyl enters the United States through legal ports of entry, in vehicles.
No one knows how much fentanyl in gel and pill form successfully crosses the southern border, but seizure rates remain low.
The opioid cut with virtually every illicit drug in the country killed a record 75,000 Americans in 2021 according to the latest figures, the equivalent of 1,500 lives lost each week.
The common drug adulterant is very potent and deadly in large doses. The equivalent of five grains of fentanyl salt is enough to cause death.
Meanwhile, a company that processes drug testing has detected a nine-fold increase in the use of fentanyl in the western United States over the past three years, showing that the powerful opioid has now cast its deadly shadow over the whole country..
This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Narcan, the nasal spray that rapidly reverses opioid overdoses.
The drug can now be sold over the counter without a prescription.
Fentanyl was invented in the United States in 1959 as a cheaper alternative to other painkillers used in hospitals and health centers around the world.
Three chemicals, benzylfentanyl, 4-anilinopiperidine, and norfentanyl, are considered precursors to fentanyl by the DEA – meaning they are the main ingredients in creating the drug.
It binds to opioid receptors in a person’s nervous system, which are responsible for giving the body a pleasant feeling when activated.