PAW PAW, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – With Fentanyl streaming across the open southern border fast and furious, the drug and its destruction of lives is showing up in communities all across the country, including in Michigan. A traffic stop on I-94 in Paw Paw Township last Tuesday morning led to the largest seizure of fentanyl in Michigan’s history and shows us that fentanyl is infiltrating into every state in America.
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A 25-year-old California man had been pulled over for improper lane use and a cracked windshield according to the Michigan State Police (MSP) news release. They said, “upon contact with driver, several indicators of criminal activity were detected and verbal consent to search the vehicle was obtained.”
They continued, “During the search, troopers discovered four kilos of fentanyl stuffed in a duffle bag.” The MSP said that there was enough fentanyl to manufacture three million pills with a street value of $9 million. The evidence lead to a second location being investigated where $30,000 in cash was also seized.
These drugs were most likely targeted for consumption by Michiganders. If you look at Paw Paw on a map, it’s not on Michigan’s border. It wasn’t being driven through Michigan to go somewhere else. It’s in the southwest corner of the state, about an hour from the border with Indiana.
The MSP reports that fentanyl is the deadliest drug circulating in the U.S. A small amount that would fit on a pencil tip can cause a deadly overdose. It is considered 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that was released to the public in the 1960’s as a pain-reliever and an intravenous anesthetic. In the mid-1990’s, a fentanyl patch was introduced for chronic pain. Then other ways of fentanyl were introduced including a lollipop (lozenge). Now, many different fentanyl products come into the United States including tablets, nasal sprays, powders and many counterfeit prescription drugs laced with fentanyl.
The Michigan Police said about the arrest out of Paw Paw, “In total, this seizure will undoubtedly save lives…”
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Fentanyl primarily originates in China and it gets smuggled into the United States through the open southern border with Mexico. Although President Biden’s Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that “fentanyl at the border” had dropped to historic lows, Trump’s former Press Secretary and Fox News “Outnumbered” co-host Kayleigh McEnany fact-checked her and said, “Here are seizures on fentanyl … CBP (Customs and Border Protection) jumped from about 4,800 pounds in 2020 to 14,700 pounds seized. As Bill Melugin points out, seizures indicate that there’s more fentanyl coming across the border. Also indicative of that is U.S. overdose deaths that have increased 800% in the last four years because of fentanyl use. Overdose deaths, 70,000 just last year.”
In Michigan, according to the state’s website, opioid overdose deaths have grown ten-fold and they are listed as one of the greatest public health crises of our lifetimes. The numbers show 2,036 deaths from opioid overdoses in 2018 and 1,911 deaths from synthetic narcotic overdoses in 2020 (including fentanyl).
Recently, although we know that an overwhelming amount of fentanyl is being smuggled into the United States through Mexico, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, claimed that his country hasn’t played a big role in the fentanyl crisis in the United States. He said that his country doesn’t produce it or consume it and blamed the problem on the “social decay” in American society.
With spring break fast approaching, Dr. Marc Siegel writes in The Hill and wonders how many of the thousands of young people coming into Florida to party will be victims of China, Mexico and the social decay in America. How many lives will be cut short after they ingest speed, oxycodone, ecstasy, Xanax or Adderall laced with fentanyl?
And why is one political party, the Democrats, ignoring the crisis of the poisoning of Americans by fentanyl? All but one of the Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted recently against a bill, the HALT Fentanyl Act, to permanently classify fentanyl as a Schedule 1 controlled substance which would allow the toughest penalties for trafficking and possession.
When this issue was debated in December of 2021, even though President Biden supported classifying fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances (FRS) as Schedule 1 drugs, Democrats were concerned about racial equity in drug policy and civil rights activists were concerned about the disproportionate imprisonment of minority Americans. At the time, the ACLU had argued that tough penalties related to fentanyl “exacerbate pretrial detention, mass incarceration and racial disparities in the prison system, doubling down on a fear-based, enforcement-first response to a public health challenge.”
During the March committee vote, Democrats were once again concerned with the incarceration of offenders and supported an end to mandatory minimum sentences for FRS charges. They want the cases treated more like a health crisis than a criminal case with mandatory minimum sentences only being used in offenses with serious harm or death.
Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) said at the recent hearing that fentanyl and FRS have become “weapons of mass destruction” that must be policed. He continued, ”This should not be a political issue. It’s about addressing the largest poisoning of Americans in the history of our country and taking steps to end the scourge.”
Latta, who was in Texas recently learned that the Mexican cartels can make a fentanyl-laced pill for only 10¢ each and then they sell it for about $30 in the United States. He said, “They are killing Americans for a dime” and implored Congress to get serious about changes to stem the flow of fentanyl into the country.
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