DEA Miami Field Division Warns of Alarming Increase in Suspected Fentanyl-Related Overdoses in Florida
MIAMI - Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami Field Division has issued a Public Safety Alert to warn Florida communities of the increase of mass-overdose events across the state suspected to be related to drug supplies laced with a synthetic opioid. While law enforcement agencies continue to investigate these events, this Public Safety Alert seeks to alert the public and raise awareness of this alarming statewide spike.
Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, are highly addictive and inexpensive to produce, leading criminal drug networks to increasingly mix it with other illicit drugs—in powder and pill form—in an effort to drive addiction and attract repeat buyers. The DEA has determined that just 2 milligrams of fentanyl is considered a lethal dose.
Synthetic opioid mass-overdose events, characterized as three or more overdoses occurring close in time and at the same location, have happened in at least three Florida counties in the last two weeks resulting in overdoses, hospitalizations, and death.
These mass-overdose events typically occur when criminal drug networks market and sell their product as a street drug such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin, when it actually contains synthetic opioid, like illicit fentanyl; or when drug dealers sell pills designed to appear nearly identical to legitimate prescriptions, but are actually fake prescription pills containing fentanyl. This leads to many unsuspecting users to unknowingly ingest fentanyl.
Synthetic opioids are the primary drivers of the nationwide overdose epidemic. The CDC estimates that over 107,000 Americans died of a drug overdose during the 12-month period from February 1, 2021 through January 30, 2022 with 67% of these overdose deaths related to a synthetic opioid. In 2021 alone, DEA seized enough fentanyl to provide a lethal dose to every American.
The DEA Miami Field Division is working diligently with our local, state, and federal partners to track these mass-overdose events back to the local drug trafficking organizations and international criminal drug networks responsible and remain committed to pursuing justice for the victims. If you suspect an opioid-related overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately to receive medical attention.
This Public Safety Alert is a follow up to the April 2022 warning issued by DEA Administrator Anne Milgram cautioning of a nationwide spike in mass-overdose events. In September 2021, DEA launched the One Pill Can Kill campaign to inform the American public of the dangers of fake prescription pills.
If you are aware of controlled substance violations in your community, please submit your anonymous tip through the DEA online Tip Line at Submit a Tip | DEA.gov. Concerns about prescription drug abuse or diversion can be reported to the DEA through this link: RX Abuse Online Reporting (usdoj.gov).
Follow DEA Miami via Twitter at @DEAMIAMIDIV.