Fentanyl Via USPS is Concerning
January 27, 2018
Fentanyl is a drug talked about often these days, and for a good reason; the drug’s prevalence grows day by day. We’ve spent time, on more than few occasions, discussing the inherent dangers of synthetic opioids—perhaps the most deadly, legal narcotic ever created. People abusing illicit opioid painkillers and heroin are at perilous risk of overdosing on fentanyl. In recent years, those in the illegal drug trade have turned to fentanyl as an inexpensive substance to make, with huge returns.
Historically, the only people with any knowledge of this opioid were those undergoing surgery or severely injured. Then in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, doctors began prescribing Duragesic® (fentanyl transdermal system); a patch that delivers the powerful narcotic through one’s skin—supposedly safely and slowly. It didn’t take long for opioid addicts to figure out that Duragesic patches were tamper-friendly; users extracted the narcotic from the patch for IV use, a recipe for an overdose to be sure.
Efforts were made to make it harder to abuse transdermal patches, and doctors began using more discretion when prescribing. Little could anyone know that patches were just the beginning of the American synthetic opioid story.
Chinese Fentanyl Trade
The fentanyl we all hear about or see plastered in the news reports on a daily basis isn’t from Duragesic patches. The drug, anywhere from 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, is primarily synthesized in China. The nation is home to laboratories making the fentanyl and the ingredients for others to manufacture the drug. You see, China doesn’t have the same kind of oversight seen in America, regulations are less stringent in many cases. It’s a reality that has led to fentanyl mass production, allowed laboratories to amass huge profits, and killed thousands of Americans.
China is in the far east, but global commerce has created paths to easy shipping and procurement of just about anything, including drugs. Each day in the U.S., Americans ship illegal narcotics via UPS, Fed-Ex, and the USPS; it stands to reason the same is happening with drugs from other countries. In fact, a new report shows that illegal shipments of fentanyl are a regular occurrence in the US Postal Service, The Guardian reports. The Senate homeland security and government affairs investigations subcommittee researched the Chinese synthetic opioid problem and found that people can procure significant amounts of fentanyl on the Internet, shipped to them via USPS.
The report indicates that the US Postal Service has dropped the ball on Chinese fentanyl, failing to create a means of capturing “advanced electronic data” on suspicious packages bound for the states. Findings show that about 318m packages didn’t get monitored last year and the committee identified 500 online fentanyl transactions with a street value of approximately $766m, according to the article. Some of the packages tracked in the investigation were involved in seven confirmed synthetic opioid-related deaths in the US.
“We now know the depth to which drug traffickers exploit our mail system to ship fentanyl and other synthetic drugs into the United States,” said Senator Rob Portman, who oversaw the investigation.
Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
The risks of fentanyl exposure are especially high for people with untreated opioid use disorder. If you are in the grips of prescription opioid or heroin addiction, please contact Christians Drug Rehab. We can help you break the cycle and begin the journey of addiction recovery.