U.S. authorities criticized social media for an uptick in drug trafficking following a massive seizure of over a million fentanyl-laced pills and hundreds of drug dealer arrests.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced Monday that it, alongside various law enforcement partners, seized over 1.8 million fake pills laced with fentanyl and arrested over 800 alleged drug dealers over the course of a two-month drug bust beginning in August. Authorities have criticized social media companies that have failed to stop the sale of these illicit drugs on their platforms.
“Fake prescription pills are widely accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including minors,” the DEA said in its announcement.
“The pervasiveness of synthetic opioids, the low cost and the way criminal drug networks disguise them as legitimate prescription pills really can make them particularly dangerous to public safety,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said, according to the WSJ.
“If we know that there’s drug dealing happening on their sites every single day, they know that, too,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said, according to the WSJ.
Drug enforcement authorities seized enough fentanyl powder to make millions of lethal pills, 158 weapons, and large amounts of cocaine and meth in an operation that began Aug. 3, according to the DEA.
The recent seizure contributed to the roughly 9.3 million illicit pills that have already been intercepted by the DEA this year, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported. The agency has confiscated more pills in 2021 than the previous two years combined.
The number of fake pills laced with fentanyl has increased by over 430% since 2019, according to the DOJ.
There have been 93,000 drug overdoses in 2020, making it the largest single-year increase in history, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 75% of these deaths have involved an opioid, usually, fentanyl, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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