DEA seizes 379M fentanyl doses in 2022

Much of it in Michigan and Ohio

The Drug Enforcement Administration said it seized more than 50.6 million fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder in 2022 — much of it in Ohio, Michigan and northern Kentucky.

The DEA’s laboratory in Detroit estimates these seizures represent more than 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl.

In Michigan, Ohio and northern Kentucky, DEA personnel seized more than 280,000 fentanyl-laced pills and more than 600 pounds of fentanyl powder — more than 19 million deadly doses.

At the same time, the agency is focusing on bringing down two Mexican drug cartels.

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing this country, agents said in a news release. It is a highly addictive man-made 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 deadly dose.

“In the past year, the men and women of the DEA have relentlessly worked to seize over 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl from communities across the country,” Administrator Anne Milgram said. “These seizures — enough deadly doses of fentanyl to kill every American — reflect DEA’s unwavering commitment to protect Americans and save lives, by tenaciously pursuing those responsible for the trafficking of fentanyl across the United States.


She added that the DEA’s top operational priority is to defeat the two Mexican drug cartels–the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels — “that are primarily responsible for the fentanyl that is killing Americans today.”

Most of the fentanyl trafficked by the Sinaloa and CJNG cartels is being mass-produced at secret factories in Mexico with chemicals sourced largely from China. In 2021, the DEA issued a public safety alert on the widespread drug trafficking of fentanyl in the form of fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills. These pills are made to look identical to real prescription medications — including OxyContin, Percocet and Xanax –but only contain filler and fentanyl, and are often deadly.

“Fentanyl in pill form is a deliberate attempt by drug cartels to make illicit drug use more appealing to Americans. We have seized fentanyl in just about every size, shape and color in both Michigan and Ohio,” Orville O. Greene, DEA Detroit special agent in charge, said. “These fake pills are readily found on social media, yet no pharmaceutical pill bought on social media should be considered safe. The only safe medications are ones prescribed directly to you by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist.”


In November 2022, DEA alerted the public to a sharp nationwide increase in the lethality of fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills. DEA laboratory testing in 2022 revealed that six out of 10 fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. This is an increase from DEA’s announcement in 2021 that four out of 10 fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills contain a potentially deadly dose.

In 2022, DEA seized more than double the amount of fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills that it seized in 2021. DEA also seized nearly 131,000 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 4,300 pounds of heroin, and more than 444,000 pounds of cocaine.

DEA is now providing a regularly updated counter at http://www.dea.gov to track approximate amounts of fentanyl pills and fentanyl powder seized.


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