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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Climb in Washington, and Cartels Are to Blame, Feds Say

"Parro" for Borderland Beat

Fentanyl sample in pill form, as shown by US authorities

Fentanyl has played a role in the deaths of hundreds of Washingtonians in recent years, including two brothers — a 30-year-old computer programmer from Pasco and a 25-year-old construction worker. 

“It seems like every time when we have a drug overdose death there is going to be one or two more,” said Curtis McGary, the Franklin County Coroner. “It seems like there is a bad batch of drugs coming through.”

Drug overdose deaths increased by 38% in Washington in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time in 2019, a February release from the Department of Health said.

Of the 835 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the first six months of 2020, 309 of them involved fentanyl, according to the release. Most drug deaths involved multiple substances. In the first six months of 2019 there were 607 overdose deaths. Fentanyl was involved in 137 of those fatalities, the release said.


Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is “typically used to treat advanced cancer pain,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine,” the CDC says.

“It is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product — with or without the user’s knowledge — to increase its euphoric effects.”

Fentanyl is often sold in Washington as counterfeit prescription opioid pills, sometimes with “M30” or “A215” imprinted on them, as well as in powders and black tar heroin, the Department of Health said. If it is a legitimate prescription, it will likely come in the form of a transdermal patch or lozenge, according to the CDC.


Washington is one of many states suffering from a rise in fentanyl-related overdose deaths, a news release from UW Medicine says. Fentanyl overdose deaths are a problem across the country, especially in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions of the U.S., according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment released Tuesday.

While the supply of fentanyl coming directly from China has been decreasing since at least 2019, Mexican drug cartels have been increasingly contributing to the supply in the U.S. market, the assessment said.

“Mexican [transnational criminal organizations] will almost certainly have the greatest impact on the fentanyl market in the [U.S.] for the near future because of these organizations’ increased capacity and capabilities for fentanyl production, adaptations to restriction on precursor chemicals and existing drug trafficking infrastructure in the [U.S.],” the assessment said.

Overdose deaths have also been increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. saw the “highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period,” which ended in May, the CDC said in a December news release.

“We know that a person is more likely to die of an overdose if they are alone. Everyone had more time alone last year,” Caleb Banta-Green, a research scientist with the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in the release from UW Medicine.

“It’s a reasonable theory that the overdoses would leap with a drug in high supply … on top of that the isolation and stress of a pandemic. What’s interesting, though, is that we didn’t see that same sharp increase with heroin and pharmaceutical opioids — just fentanyl.”


The DEA predicts fentanyl and other synthetic opioids will “continue to contribute to high numbers of drug overdose deaths in … the near term, as fentanyl availability … continues to persist.” Travel restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border due to the pandemic will likely impact the supply, the assessment said.

Last month, three people were arrested on charges of distributing thousands of fentanyl pills in Whatcom County, according to a news release from the Department of Justice’s Western District of Washington. More than 5,000 fentanyl pills were seized on Feb. 23 and thousands more pills, along with heroin and meth, were seized during the course of the federal investigation.

“This undercover investigation revealed these defendants were responsible for the distribution of thousands of pills tainted with potentially deadly fentanyl,” Brian Moran, U.S. attorney, said in the release.

“A recent analysis by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office showed a significant drop in overdose deaths following large law enforcement seizures in federal drug cases.” 

Source: The News Tribune


  1. No one puts a gun to the head of most drug users so they can consume drugs. Fuck them! No pittu here for them.
    Even if some people here can claim big pharma is also to blame for some addictions when it comes down to it most hard drugs a person uses he or she willingly consume these. The addiction is not doctor prescribed period.

  2. Addiction is similar to playing Russian Roulette. Despite the uncertainty, the need to consume will outweighs rational decisions.
    Weather Mexican cartels or others the demand to fill a consumers void will always be met for financial purposes. That's the beauty of capitalism.
    The reality that China is the main culprit of chemical precursors of such bears of no special interest to US officials?

    1. Exactly. All the fentanyl is synthetically produced in China and brought to Mexico for preparation. But the US is afraid to point the finger at the government who owns all of our debt and can yank our economy.

    2. NO FEAR,
      US exported its industries wholesale to China, not their US Ownership, the chinese are always trying to enhance their deal, but not at the expense of their US industrialists because they know which side takes the butter.

    3. 908, wrong... certain factions can now produce own fent in Mexico with materials sourced from all different locations, including a small base from China. El Raton, of chapitos is fent king and another reason he was almost lifted. Now the kids are taking over huge portions of the market, including cocao from Ivan. Source to end user wrapped under one umbrella. Powers are getting stronger and stronger.

  3. Im from israel and this shit is a big hit in israel! A lot of deads comes from this shit!

    1. Drug consumption & addiction is real and devastating. Heartbreaking to know that even the holiest of places on earth is dealing with such.


    2. I think there's never been soo manny deaths from other drugs..i think fentanyl is the worst dead trap

    3. The holiest of cities does not give a crap what people do...even since the times of the JC, they also turned on Moses in a day because golden cows looks more promising than a donkey rider that refuses to make TV ads to enhance the sanhedrin's take.

  4. Oh, so the abusers of drugs are not to blame, must of had a gun to their heads and forced to use.

    1. 12:08 beasts can't understand addiction, one hit and you are in to the grave, not everybody is equipped to abstain after a while, hope you get better.

  5. Cartels are to BLAME??!!LMFAO what about the pharmaceutical companies and doctors?? This shit crazy. And what about China?

    1. whats with china??? Do you sue GM when somebody uses the car to kill people???
      Secure your border and stop blaming others

    2. 3:27 it all comes from china idiot.go after them then the cartels wont even have that shit to sell americans

    3. @3:27am are u STUPID?! Do u not know who hooked the American ppl on opiates? It was our American Dr.s in cahoots with the pharmaceutical companies. I can PROMISE U the cartels had nothing to do with that.

  6. USA has millions of homeless drug users why don’t they fix that ? Maybe then no one will buy fentanyl.
    Or will they ?

    1. 6:04 thass why organized crime organizes, police unions get the lion's shark bite of governments budget, schools, medicals, housing get bit on the ass and it shows, it has created millions of homeless and plenty of drug addicts, some of them rich and famous in the past.

  7. Addicts are the problem..nobody will beat the shit out from them and force them to take the drugs

    1. 9:54 most addicts are drafted, not volunteers.
      The drafted get exploited and used to recruit more and more "talent", or else they get declared traitors and get tablazos and dismemberment, but the bosses right to the presumprion of innocense gets by unpoluted.

  8. “Treatment?...Addicts treat themselves: they overdose, and it’s one less to worry about.”—Tomas Milian as Gen. Salazar in TRAFFIC.

    The cartels—horrific as they are—are a product of Econ 101: where there’s demand there will subsequently follow supply. The real question is—which is the bigger cancer?:

    - Cartels?
    - Big Pharma?
    - Compromised/Corrupted American politicians?


  9. This article reeks of Chinese communist party propaganda.


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