Sadly, Illicit Fentanyl Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon

Cooking fentanyl on American flag background with chalk deadlines.

Fentanyl: it’s cheap, it’s powerful and worst of all it’s deadly. The synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin was originally used in medical settings for terminally ill patients. With the rising popularity of opioids, fentanyl has made its way onto the illicit drug market and has been making a killing ever since, both figuratively and literally. Data collected from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that drug overdose death rates have been on a steady incline since 1999. 70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in 2017 alone and 47,600 of these included some form of opioid.

Drug dealers have been cutting their products with less expensive agents in order to increase their profits for ages. When it comes to selling illegal drugs, the integrity behind one’s product is usually nowhere to be found. Drug manufacturers and dealers do not care about the welfare of their clients, all they care about is their bottom line. This is nothing new. What has become a new trend, however, is the practice of cutting drugs with more potent drugs that make them stronger instead of just fillers that make them weaker to stretch out the supply. Because illicit fentanyl is so cheap to make it has become a popular cutting agent for other drugs which has resulted in higher rates of drug overdoses.

When buying drugs off the street a person never knows what they are really getting. Drug manufacturers have gotten so efficient with their craft that they are able to make counterfeit prescription pills that look genuine enough to fool a trained pharmacist but are actually filled with lethal amounts of fentanyl, creating deadly concoctions. These potent combinations are killing people every day from the casual user to people with heavy drug tolerance, no one is truly safe. What appears to be the same dose that was taken yesterday can have a different mixture today that would lead to overdose.

A recent drug bust in Orange County, California lead to the seizure of 18 pounds of fentanyl, which is enough to make four million lethal doses of the drug. The estimated street value of that much fentanyl is more than $1.25 million. Along with the copious amount of fentanyl that was taken, investigators also seized heroin, methamphetamine, a semi-automatic handgun and $71,000 in cash.

Although this particular raid has helped to reduce the spread of such a vast amount of the deadly drug it is still only a drop in the bucket compared to how much fentanyl is still circulating the streets. According to the Orange County Register, this one recent seizure resulted in almost half the amount of fentanyl that was taken by authorities in the county for all of 2018. This is a dismal sign that the United States fentanyl problem has only continued to grow direr.

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful and addictive drug that is killing more and more people every day. Due to the ever-growing uncertainty of what is actually being purchased when it comes to the illegal drug trade, it is now more important than ever to seek professional help to overcome addiction once and for all.




After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.