The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that the equivalent of 379 million lethal doses of fentanyl were seized during 2022. According to the agency, just 2 milligrams of the opioid, the size of the tip of a pencil, can be lethal. It is up to 50 times more potent than heroin:
It is a highly addictive artificial opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially lethal dose.
The DEA reported seizing 50.6 million counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl, in addition to 4.5 tons of the drug in powder form throughout the year. This equates to "more than 379 million potentially lethal doses of this opioid."
Fentanyl from Mexico and China
The drug is manufactured in Mexico with chemicals from China: "Most of the fentanyl trafficked by the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel- New Generation is mass-produced in secret factories in Mexico with chemicals sourced mostly from China.”
In response to this, the agency claimed that it was putting all its efforts into eliminating the two cartels that lead the trafficking of this drug:
The DEA's operational priority is to defeat the two Mexican drug cartels, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation, which are primarily responsible for the fentanyl that is killing Americans today.
One of the authorities’ biggest concerns is that the drug is distributed by prescription in the form of counterfeit drugs such as Percocet, OxyContin and Xanax. About 60% of the withheld pills had a "potentially lethal dose of the opioid.”