It was the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history. It was also one of the potentially deadliest. In fact, Feds seized enough fentanyl to wipe out an entire continent.
A quarter milligram of fentanyl can kill you. So says the DEA anyway. One quarter milligram. That's like two or three grains. Give or take. Which means there's never more than one grain between life and death.
If a quarter milligram of fentanyl can kill you, then a quarter gram of the drug can kill 1000 of you. Make it a gram and 4000 of you die. Just like that. Switch from grams to pounds and the dead bodies really start piling up. Fast. There are four-hundred fifty-three grams in a pound. So one pound of fentanyl could equal over 1.8 million deaths. That's a population about the size of Phoenix.
If a mere pound of fentanyl can wipe out Phoenix, then just imagine what 254 pounds of the deadly drug would do. That's how many pounds of fentanyl the Feds recently seized in on the U.S./Mexico border in Nogales. Two-hundred fifty-four pounds. Enough fentanyl to kill nearly half a billion people. In other words, mass murder on the scale of an entire continent.
Yes, as you might suspect, the Feds' latest fentanyl bust set records. In fact, it was the largest fentanyl seizure in U.S. history. What you might not suspect though is this haul was more than double the size of the last largest take. That take -- 118 pounds seized from a truck near Kearney, Nebraska -- happened back in May of 2018. So either the Feds have gotten better at seizing the deadly drug or there's even more of the deadly drug invading our shores. It's quite likely both.
Recovery Boot Camp is incredibly heartened to see the overworked and understaffed U.S. Customs and Border Protection pull of such a massive fentanyl bust. We're especially heartened to see the agency was able to pull off the record-setting seizure despite a government shutdown. It shows the agents on the street are unflagging in their commitment. It also shows the CBP is ever more expert in the execution of their appointed tasks.
The massive fentanyl bust should also provide a sigh of relief to each and every American in the country. Why? Because each and every American in the country is at risk for losing a loved one to fentanyl. All Americans have in some way, somehow been impacted by the opioid crisis. Whether they believe it or not. So each and every citizen benefits from the removing of such an apocalyptic amount of deadly drug. At the very least, it's nice to not need to picture an entire continent worth of murder.
Killed by Fentanyl
It's hard to decide just which is the more alarming aspect of fentanyl. Is it the drug's increasingly widespread use? Is it the drug's increasingly widespread OD rate? Or is it the drug's ratio of death-per-dose? Whatever the case, the fact is it takes less of the drug to kill more. And there's now more fentanyl than ever before.
In fact, fentanyl abuse rates continue to rise. And fentanyl ODs are the only aspect of the opioid crisis where the numbers are still growing. Abuse of every other opioid out there -- heroin, hydrocodone, OxyContin, etc -- has shown signs of abating. As have their overdose rates. Yet fentanyl continues to defy all crisis-abating efforts, despite the obvious risks.
Or maybe it's because of those obvious risks. Addicts have long been known to bandwagon behind a particularly potent strain of their drug of no choice. So it sort of makes sense that opioid addicts would rally around the most potent opioid available. It also doesn't help that fentanyl mixes so easily with heroin, as well as non-opioid drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Or that non-opioid users have so readily taken to the thrill-enhancing new concoction.
The results have been nothing short of tragic. Prince, Tom Petty and Mac Miller all died with fentanyl in their systems. That means each of the three had taken some form of the new concoction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl was also in the systems of 28,400 of the 70,237 people who died of overdoses throughout 2017.
The collective impact of this fentanyl-related carnage is of course incalculable. On our culture, as well as on society as a whole. Just imagine the music that will never be made by Prince, Petty and Miller, let alone the lives that would've been changed as a result of those songs. Even more alarming perhaps is how many people might seek to mimic the actions of their heroes.
Above and beyond it all though is that astronomical number of overdose deaths. Twenty-eight thousand, four-hundred. In one year alone. That's 28,400 people who won't walk on the beach tomorrow. Or who won't hold someone's hand tonight. Twenty-eight thousand, four-hundred folks who won't be rooting from the stands at their children's Little League game or raising a toast at their parent's 50th wedding anniversary. Twenty-eight thousand, four-hundred families who won't be able to see, hear and hold their loved one ever again.