According to The Guardian, drug overdose deaths have reached 100,000 annually for the first-ever time. Fentanyl is the main culprit. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Provisional data show that drug overdose deaths increased by 28.5% in the 12-month period ending April 2021.
Tyler Skaggs (ex-Angels pitcher), actor Michael K. Williams, and musician Tom Petty were among those who lost their lives to the deadly and powerful synthetic drug. Fentanyl.
Celebrities make headlines but in Southern California, similar tragedies are happening – fathers and daughters are dying at alarming rates.
“I walked into his bedroom to give him his medication and I found him dead,”Jaime Puerta stated that he had lost his teenage son Daniel in April 2020.
“It was just horrible. No parent should see something like that,”Puerta stated. “My son thought he was consuming a blue m-30 Oxycodone pill, but it turned out to be a counterfeit with enough fentanyl to kill anywhere between four to seven people and that took his life.”
The NBC4 I-Team analyzed data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control. They found that since 2019, the number overdose deaths due to synthetic drugs in California has been dramatically higher than heroin and cocaine.
Nearly Two thirds of all overdose deaths occur annuallyAccording to the CDC, synthetic opioids are now being used.
Los Angeles’ Drug Enforcement Administration tells NBC4 ITeam Fentanyl was responsible for almost 50 percent of drug-related deaths in Los Angeles County, and 64 percent in Orange County in the same year.
The NBC4 ITeam discovered that people are turning more to the internet black market for pain pills after the recent crackdown against doctors and companies who have been flooding the market with them. They’re buying unwittingly dangerous fake drugs.
“Every community is an open-air drug market”William “Bill”Bodner, Special Agent in Charge for the DEA Office Los Angeles.
Bodner is the DEA’s Southern California operations manager and claims that most of the fentanyl his office sees comes from China. The pillsMexican cartels then manufacture and trade them.
“One hundred percent of the pills that you buy on the street or you get through social media are counterfeit pills,”He stated.
Bodner said that buyers and dealers often use emojis, which are found on smartphones and cell phone screens, to negotiate the purchase of counterfeit products.
An agency was created emoji decoderThis shows a snowflake representing what’s supposed be Oxycodone. A school bus is for Xanax and a product billed at “high potency”It shows a rocketship. Bodner would like parents to be able to understand the language.
“We also have to pursue those dealers that are selling drugs that are resulting in deaths,”Bodner spoke.
This strategy represents a significant shift in the battle against fentanyl or other illicit drugs.
A federal law has been amended to allow agents to file charges against dealers for killing customers who have purchased drugs. A minimum sentence of 20 years could be handed down to the dealer if convicted.
Last month, Tyler Skaggs, the former communications director of the Los Angeles Angels, was convicted for distributing opioids with fentanyl. Skaggs was killed in 2019. Eric Kay will be sentenced June.
“There are too many people dying in Southern California.”Puerta stated.
Puerta serves as president of Victims of Illicit Drugs. His son was given counterfeit pills. He claims they look legit, but are actually mixed with Fentanyl and other synthetic drugs and sold on a black market. You can easily find the pills on social media sites and apps.
“It’s Russian roulette. i mean you’re you’re just you’re playing with fire,” “Lee”We were asked to conceal our identities and names by the man who requested it.
“Lee”He claims he used make and sell bogus drugs – pressing thousands of people in an hour.
“There’s a lot of different apps, now that are text messaging apps; you make a fake email you know and you can be completely anonymous,”He stated.
He claims that he used cryptocurrency to conceal transactions, then one day he consumed too much of his own product.
“I am thankful I am not dead,”He stated.
“Lee”He says that he’s now five months sober following completing his rehab. Action Family CounselingSanta Clarita
Cary Quashen runs the center and sees people who are high on fentanyl every single day.
“It’s the most deadly thing out there right now,”He stated.