U.S. Border Patrol agents seized 2,700 pounds of fentanyl — enough to kill the entire U.S. population — in figures announced September 30, 2023, a grim outlook fashioned by the People’s Republic of China’s continued supply of materials used to make the dangerous drug.
The U.S. Border Patrol said that figure represented fentanyl seized between ports of entry on the U.S. southern border. Agents seized more than 22,000 pounds of the drug at ports of entry.
The growing amount of fentanyl being trafficked between ports of entry is a troubling trend, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens told Fox News in September.
A border crisis with migrants seeking asylum has already strained the agency and may be a reason that traffickers are finding more success smuggling the drug across the border, Border Patrol officials told the news outlet.
Fentanyl is the most prominent opioid, which is produced primarily in Mexico using Chinese precursors and then trafficked across the southern border. The drug is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and is often cut with other drugs, Fox News reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 111,345 people died of drug overdoses in the most recent period of data collection, which ended in March 2023 — slightly more than the previous year, which had set a record for overdose deaths.
The CDC said more than 70 percent of those deaths were from fentanyl.