The synthetic opioid — which is at least 50 times more powerful than morphine and flows into the states from the southern border — has driven a surge of drug deaths across the country. Lax laws and punishment are the main problems.
In the Big Apple, authorities say it can now be found in nearly every illegal pill or drug peddled on the street. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” said NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan, who worked as a homicide prosecutor during the surge of crack in the city in the late 1980s, and early 90s.
More than 2,800 New Yorkers died of a drug overdose — the vast majority involving fentanyl — over a 12-month span ending in July 2022, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a 125% increase from 2016 when Dorian died. For the first nine months of 2022, EMS workers rushed to the scene for more than 7,500 calls for overdose, which is on pace to double the tally for the year compared to 2018, according to FDNY data.
“The effect of this drug and the loss that people have suffered because of fentanyl is tremendous and it’s really widespread,” Brennan told The Post. “It just cuts across everything, age, demographic,” she said. “And it’s just heartbreaking.” Cutting drugs with another substance to make them stronger is nothing new for dealers, but the highly addictive fentanyl — which can kill with an amount equivalent to just 10 to 20 grains of salt — has created a new drug epidemic.