Two men have been sent to prison for the possession of enough fentanyl to kill the entire population of New York City and New Jersey.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, overdoses of which have dragged down the life expectancy in the United States for two years in a row. This has not happened since the early 1960s, and these two men played a part in the alarming trend.
Two Men Sentenced For Possession Of Massive Amount Of Fentanyl
On charges of possession of heroin and fentanyl, with intent to distribute the drugs, 31-year-old Jesus Carrillo-Pineda from Philadelphia, and 28-year-old Daniel Vasquez from Somerton, Arizona, were sentenced to prison. Carrillo-Pineda faces 10 years behind bars, while Vazquez will be imprisoned for six years.
The two men were arrested by police last June in a parking lot in North Bergen, New Jersey. The authorities, acting on a tip, saw fentanyl transferred from Vasquez's tractor trailer to Carrillo-Pineda's Mercedes.
Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more portent compared to morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent compared to heroin. A dose of fentanyl as small as one-quarter milligram could lead to death.
The potency of fentanyl made the police's arrest of Carrillo-Pineda and Vasquez more disturbing. The fentanyl that the authorities seized from the men weighed 45 kilograms, containing over 18 million lethal doses.
"The 100 pounds of fentanyl trafficked into our state by these drug dealers could have generated enough lethal doses to kill the entire populations of New Jersey and New York City combined," said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in a statement.
According to Division of Criminal Justice - New Jersey director Elie Honig, fentanyl was only found in around 2 percent of the heroin that was tested by the police of the state. By late 2017, it was traced in almost one-third of the tested heroin.
Solving The Opioid Problem
Taking dealers off the streets will help in dealing with the raging opioid problem in the United States, but that is not enough.
In July 2017, a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, commissioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, outlined a harsher strategy and total policy overhaul in relation to doctors' prescription practices. In December 2017, the FDA approved a monthly injection of Sublocade to treat opioid addiction, but the drug is currently priced at $1,580 per monthly dose.
Earlier this month, the city of Philadelphia took the drastic measure of establishing Comprehensive User Engagement Sites, where individuals can inject themselves with opioids under supervision. The facilities ensured that medical responders were on hand in case of an overdose while providing treatment for addiction.