DEA Rocky Mountain Division Announces Record Fentanyl Seizures in 2022
DENVER –The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Rocky Mountain Division seized over
5.8 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl in 2022. The division, which covers the states of Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming, seized nearly two million fentanyl pills and more than 150 pounds of fentanyl powder in 2022.
Last month, DEA announced nationwide seizure totals of over 50.6 million fentanyl pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. The DEA Laboratory estimates that these seizures represent more than 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl, which equates to enough fentanyl to kill every American.
“For the first time in my 31-year law enforcement career, we are seeing an oversaturated drug market. Anyone, including our kids, can buy dangerous and deadly drugs at the click of a button. This is like nothing we’ve experienced before and it makes our jobs as narcotics officers far more challenging and critical than ever before,” said Special Agent in Charge Brian Besser of the Rocky Mountain Division. “We are geographically at the crossroads of the west; and this quite literally places the Rocky Mountain Division on the front lines in the fight to save lives. You have my pledge that we will continue to do everything within our ability to keep this poison from reaching your communities.”
Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing this country. 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 2021, the DEA issued a Public Safety Alert on the widespread drug trafficking of fentanyl in the form of 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. That year the Rocky Mountain Division seized just over 619,000 fentanyl pills.
This past November, DEA alerted the public to a sharp nationwide increase in the lethality of fentanyl pills. DEA laboratory testing in 2022 revealed that six out of ten pills contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. This is an increase from 2021 when DEA lab testing revealed four out of ten pills tested contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.
DEA reminds everyone that legitimate pharmaceutical pills cannot be bought on social media. The only safe medications are ones prescribed directly to you by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. For additional information and resources, including our Caregivers Fact Sheet, visit DEA.gov/onepill.
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