SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio DEA agents say they are seeing large amounts of fentanyl entering our communities. The drug is a synthetic opioid. These days, it’s clandestinely manufactured in China and Mexico and mixed in with illicit drugs.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dante Sorianello said there’s a large profit for dealers who don’t have to do much to make it.
“The bulk of the fentanyl that we’re seeing is being made into fake prescription pills, fake hydrocodone, fake oxycodone. And those pills are not being made in a pharmacy, in a pharmaceutical environment, not in a laboratory. They’re being made by clandestine drug manufacturers,” he explained.
The distribution of fentanyl in the drugs varies widely.
Fentanyl is so potent, an amount smaller than a penny or about the tip of a pencil could kill someone or leave them in a poor state.
Sorianello said DEA lab results show nearly half of the laced pills on the streets contain almost deadly amounts of fentanyl DEA lab results show nearly half of the laced pills on the streets contain almost deadly amounts of fentanyl or about 40%.
“In the last four months in San Antonio alone, we’ve seized over 200,000 fake Oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. So if we’re playing with the 40 percent, now that means 80,000 of those pills could have a potentially lethal dose, it could kill 80,000 people,” he explained.
Sorianello said many of those pills are ending up at parties on college campuses where some students might experiment once and die from that one-time use. He says sometimes other illicit drugs are laced with fentanyl and those consuming it aren’t aware.
“There is a certain part of the people who are overdosing and passing away. They didn’t know it was fentanyl,” he said.
The latest 2020 medical examiner’s report showed that about 94% of overdoses were accidental and about 16% of those were linked to fentanyl and or other illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin. Since 2016, there’s been an upwards trend in deaths linked to fentanyl.