SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The Drug Enforcement Administration is going all out to try and stem the flow of synthetic drugs, especially fentanyl, into the U.S.
“The vast majority of synthetic opioids that are coming into our country are coming from across our southern border into the United States,” said D.E.A. Assistant Special Agent in Charge Misha Piastro.
According to Piastro, drug organizations based in Mexico are using border crossings, like the ones between San Diego and Tijuana, to bring in the drugs that are killing tens of thousands of Americans.
“We’re seeing it in bulk quantities, we’re seeing more and more fentanyl every year, last year we had record seizures,” said Piastro.
They’re also seeing more deaths.
According to the most recently published CDC provisional data, more than 87,200 people died from an overdose last year, marking the largest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. Deaths involving synthetic opioids increased nearly 60 percent during the same 12-month period ending September 1, 2020.
Fentanyl deaths in San Diego County alone are predicted to increase from 151 in 2019 to over 450 in 2020, and many of these overdose victims did not know they were taking fentanyl, according to CDC data cited by the DEA.
As a way to inform the public and to try and stop the drugs from getting north of the border, Piastro says they are launching Operation Wave Breaker.
“It’s a comprehensive initiative to address the influx of synthetic opioids into the country and devastation is causing here in cities like San Diego,” said Piastro. “We are dedicating all of our resources towards addressing this issue of synthetic opioids’ devastation that it’s causing.”
Agent Piastro said one of the biggest concerns is that the fentanyl manufactured in Mexico is not consistent and could be extremely dangerous.
“The manufactured pills that we’re seeing that are produced to contain fentanyl are unpredictable, so it’s an extremely dangerous situation.”
While Piastro would not address the matter, published reports in Mexico indicate that opioids and fentanyl are also creating problems south of the border.
Reportedly, drug overdoses and addiction are at an all-time high in cities such as Tijuana where a lot of the manufacturing is now taking place due to its proximity to California and the rest of the United States.