The Drug Enforcement Administration announced Tuesday it has seized more than 10,000 pounds of illegal fentanyl so far in 2022, The Washington Post reported.
It’s hard to overstate the toll of America’s fentanyl epidemic.
The Post’s framing of the news, under the headline, “DEA seized enough fentanyl to kill every person in the U.S. in 2022,” actually hugely understated the potential death toll.
- In addition to the 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder and 50.6 million fentanyl tablets seized by the DEA, Customs and Border Protection seized more than 14,000 pounds of the synthetic opioid at the southern border, a record amount.
- U.S. authorities estimate they only catch 5-10% of the illegal fentanyl that is flooding across the border, according to the Post, meaning total imports this year could be more than 48,000 pounds, not including the pills.
- If 2 milligrams is a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, as per the DEA, 48,000 pounds is enough to kill about 11 billion people, or everyone on earth and then some.
THE DEATH TOLL
Fatal drug overdoses in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 108,000 in 2021, according to Centers for Disease Control data.
- The 71,000 fentanyl overdoses last year made the drug the leading cause of death among Americans ages 18-45, ahead of COVID-19, cancer, heart disease and accidents.