Fentanyl deaths on the rise as drug traffickers target kids on social media

DEA shares the Emoji codes drug dealers use with children
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KENNEWICK, Wash. — Drug Traffickers are targeting kids using the “perfect drug trafficking tool: social…They’re using these apps to flood our country with fentanyl,” said the DEA Administrator Anne Milgram who was quoted on the DEA Headquarters’ Twitter page.

Two Mgs Of FentanylOne of the deadliest drugs on the market is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. According to the DEA, fentanyl is typically used to treat patients with chronic severe pain or after surgery and is 100 times more potent than morphine. What makes fentanyl so fatal is the small amount it can take to become deadly. The DEA shared a photo showing the lethal amount at 2mg, which is equal to the size of a few grains of salt (see image to the left).

Death Comparison

Courtesy: Families Against Fentanyl

“Fentanyl overdoses in the U.S. are now the number one cause of death for adults between 18 and 45-years-old,” according to Families Against Fentanyl. According to data collected by Families Against Fentanyl, the number of deaths from fentanyl between 2020 and 2021 surpassed the number of deaths from suicide, COVID-19, and car accidents.

According to the DEA’s website,  42% of the fentanyl pills the DEA tested contain the potentially lethal dose of at least 2mg. With the way the drugs are manufactured, the DEA said there is no way to know if a pill contains fentanyl or how much unless tested. “This is a national emergency. America’s young adults — thousands of unsuspecting Americans — are being poisoned,” said James Rauh, the founder of Families Against Fentanyl.

“So far this year, DEA has seized 20,000,000 fake pills often laced with fentanyl, which is more than the last two years combined.” -DEA.

DEA officials warn “that criminal drug networks in Mexico are mass-producing deadly fentanyl in fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills, using chemicals mainly sourced from China.” The DEA says that the chemicals are shipped from China to drug cartels in Mexico, mass-produced into pills, and then sent to Seattle’s streets. Pills then continue to travel through dealers around the state and social media platforms are also to blame. According to the DEA, dealers are using a “secret code” with emojis to entice young people to participate. Here is what parents can look for:

Drug Codes DEA

Courtesy: DEA

Lethal Pill Graphic

Courtesy: Families Against Fentanyl

The DEA announced they launched a new educational campaign called One Pill Can Kill to inform Americans about the dangers of fake prescription pills that are designed to look identical to Oxycontin®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Adderall®, Xanax®, and other medicines. “Counterfeit pills have been identified in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the DEA.