Illegal fentanyl use is regarded as a major health crisis in the United States at this juncture in time. Currently, fentanyl is entering the illegal market in a pair of primary ways. First, fentanyl is illegally available in the United States through the drug being brought into the United States from other countries. Second, fentanyl is also being produced at illegal mills and pill pressing factories across the country. With this in mind, there are four points that need to be understood about the international fentanyl trade versus fentanyl mills and pill pressing plants operating in the United States:

  • Overview of fentanyl
  • A look at the fentanyl epidemic in the United States
  • Fentanyl mills or pill factories in the U.S.A.
  • International illicit fentanyl trade

Overview of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a highly addictive, terribly dangerous opioid drug. Generally, fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is 50 times more powerful than heroin. 

Fentanyl legally is used in the United States as a painkiller for a limited class of patients. Fentanyl is prescribed in situations in which a patient has truly severe pain as the result of a medical condition. For example, fentanyl is prescribed in situations in which a person has been diagnosed with end-stage cancer. As a medication, the recommendation is that fentanyl be prescribed only in situations in which other painkillers failed to provide a patient with relief. 

The illegal use of fentanyl has been a major, growing problem in the United States. At this juncture in time, fentanyl is deemed to be the opioid most responsible for accelerating the opioid crisis in the country. Thousands of people die each year as a result of fentanyl overdoses. 

Illegal fentanyl is reaching people in a number of different ways. First, there are people who seek illegal fentanyl as their drug of choice. In most cases, illegal fentanyl is used by users and addicts in either powder or pill form.

Second, fentanyl is being added to cocaine and heroin. In some cases, drug users, abusers, and addicts know of the addition of fentanyl into cocaine or heroin. In other situations, fentanyl is used to cut cocaine and heroin without users being aware that this has occurred. 

Finally, an increasing practice involves the sale of fentanyl under the guise that the drug is heroin. Heroin users, abusers, and addicts unknowingly are being provided fentanyl believing what they have been given is heroin. 

Fentanyl Mills or Pill Factories in the U.S.A.

Fentanyl mills and pill factories can be found in operation across the United States. There are certain locations in the country where these illicit operations are more commonplace. For example, in the past few years, fentanyl mills and pill factories have been more prevalent on the East Coast. With that said, these illegal operations can be found in any location, including in the state of California.

Fentanyl mills and pill factories present a significant safety hazard and health risk. An example of this type of operation illustrates the point.

Assume that a fentanyl producer elects to use a motel room for operations. For the sake of this hypothetical, assume that a fentanyl producer or dealer is pressing fentanyl powder into pill form. 

When a fentanyl pill maker abandons its operational location, the site will be contaminated with fentanyl. This can include fentanyl powder contaminating surfaces at the location. Fentanyl powder can end up in the HVAC system as well (which can spread the contamination). This renders an extremely hazardous situation far worse. 

International Illicit Fentanyl Trade

A considerable amount of fentanyl is entering the United States illegally through illicit international trade. What many people do not realize is that fentanyl can be delivered to the comfort of a user’s home via any number of international delivery services that have international options. 

In this day and age, fentanyl can be “ordered” from a myriad of different poorly regulated labs in China and Mexico. The Rand Corporation, an esteemed research organization, found that there are Chinese firms willing to send a kilogram of pure fentanyl to the United States for as little as $2,000. Bear in mind that a dose of fentanyl is 0.01 milligrams, or 1/100th of a milligram. There are 1 million milligrams in a kilogram. Thus, this shipment of pure fentanyl for $2,000 technically would constitute 100 million doses of fentanyl

Admittedly, this is a clinical dose of fentanyl. The amount used illegally and on the street is in a higher amount, which is one of the reasons why overdoses occur with alarming frequency. 

If you are confronted with a situation in which you believe a property under your control may be contaminated with fentanyl, you need to seek professional assistance with all deliberate speed. This includes contacting law enforcement and engaging the services of a qualified, experienced fentanyl decontamination company.