DEA warns about the dangers of fentanyl

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Fentanyl is now being called the No. 1 drug driving crime in Albuquerque. Over the last few years, authorities have seen a significant increase in fentanyl use, not only in New Mexico but across the country.

The El Paso Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration says fentanyl is popular because it’s cheap to make and easy to mix in with other drugs.

According to the DEA, just two milligrams is considered a fatal dose of fentanyl. However, they are seeing it less in powder form and more as what looks like a normal prescription pill.

“People may think they are getting one drug but they are really getting that drug laced with fentanyl, or they think they are buying a pill from a pharmacy but they buy it on the street or on social media. What that pill is… it’s a counterfeit pill made to look just like the real pill and it’s very hard to tell the difference,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Greg Millard explained.

They are now warning the public that "One Pill Can Kill" in their latest outreach campaign, explaining even a small dose of fentanyl can be deadly.

“Imagine a few grains of salt on the tip of a pencil. Now, may not look like a lot, but the danger of fentanyl is it’s so powerful, it just takes two milligrams could be fatal. Now think will there be just two milligrams, a few grains of fentanyl mixed into a pill?” Millard said.

DEA testing of seized counterfeit pills shows that 4 out of every 10 pills contain a deadly dose of fentanyl, but it’s not just the pills that are being laced.

“We have had other drugs, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine all come back from the lab with fentanyl in it, so these drug cartels are using fentanyl to increase their profits or cut the drugs with fentanyl. It’s really dangerous because you have no way of knowing how much is in there and if there is a fatal dose in there,” Millard said.

Just last year the Albuquerque DEA office seized nearly 250 pounds of fentanyl, a 900% increase from the year before. But seizing drugs is only one part of the solution

“You can’t police your way out of an epidemic, we can’t arrest our way out of an epidemic, we have to have help from the community, everybody,” Millard said. “The DEA really is more, I like to say, that enforcement is our middle name – the Drug Enforcement Administration – however, we do a lot more community outreach, education, prevention.”

Millard says one way to help fight against this epidemic is simply talking with your families about the dangers. Also, never buy prescription pills that have not been prescribed by a doctor.