San Antonio sees large amounts of fentanyl entering the community, DEA agents say

SAN ANTONIO – DEA agents in San Antonio say they are seeing large amounts of fentanyl entering our communities. The drug is a synthetic opioid. Today it is smuggled in China and Mexico and mixed with illicit drugs.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dante Sorianello said there was a big profit for dealers who didn’t have to do much to earn it.

“Most of the fentanyl that we see is made into fake prescription pills, fake hydrocodone, fake oxycodone. And those pills are not made in a pharmacy, in a pharmaceutical environment, not in a lab. They are made by clandestine drug manufacturers,” he explained.

The distribution of fentanyl in drugs varies widely.

Fentanyl is so potent that less than a penny or the tip of a pencil could kill someone or leave them in bad shape.

Sorianello said DEA lab results show nearly half of the pills laced on the streets contain near-lethal amounts of fentanyl. The DEA lab results show that almost half of the pills laced on the streets contain near-lethal amounts of fentanyl, or about 40%.

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“In the past four months, in San Antonio alone, we have seized over 200,000 fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. So if we play with the 40%, that now means that 80,000 of these pills could have a life-threatening dose, it could kill 80,000 people,” he explained.

Sorianello said many of these pills end up at parties on college campuses where some students might experiment once and die from this one-time use. He says that sometimes other illicit drugs contain fentanyl and those who use it don’t know it.

“There is a certain portion of people who overdose and die. They didn’t know it was fentanyl,” he said.

The latest 2020 medical examiner’s report showed that around 94% of overdoses were accidental and around 16% of them were related to fentanyl and/or other illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin. Since 2016, there has been an upward trend in fentanyl-related deaths.

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Sam D. Gomez