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California Seized Enough Fentanyl in 2023 to Kill State’s Population Over 68 Times

California Seized Enough Fentanyl in 2023 to Kill State’s Population Over 68 Times

A display of the fentanyl and meth that was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Nogales Port of Entry during a press conference in Nogales, Ariz., on Jan. 31, 2019. (Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

8/29/2023

Updated: 8/29/2023

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have seized enough fentanyl in California for fatal overdoses of 2.7 billion people so far this year, according to statistics from the agency.
The amount, nearly 4,900 kilos, was enough to kill the entire state’s population 68 times, according to calculations using the agency’s data and from federal drug enforcement officials.
Although current customs agency’s data from the drug seizure statistic dashboard shows the seizure of other drugs, like methamphetamine and heroin, has decreased in recent years, fentanyl has seen a sharp increase.
The amount of fentanyl seized by the federal agency, as of this month, is a 38 percent increase from over 3,500 kilos confiscated last year, and an over 280 percent increase from 2020.
Among this year’s drug haul, over 99 percent of fentanyl was seized at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to border patrol officials, while San Francisco’s ports of entry—the second most seized location—saw 15 kilos of such, enough to kill the city’s population nine times over.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom visiting the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Ysidro, Calif. (Courtesy of Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom visiting the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Ysidro, Calif. (Courtesy of Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)

Nationally, nearly 108,000 kilos of fentanyl have been seized as of August 2023, a 62 percent increase from the previous year and a 400 percent increase from 2020.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that finds primary medical use in managing severe pain-related conditions like cancer or major surgeries. However, its high potency also makes it a target for illicit production and distribution, contributing significantly to opioid-related overdoses and fatalities, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
According to drug enforcement officials, 2 milligrams of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose, and one kilogram of the drug has the potential to kill 500,000 people.
The graph shows the amount of fentanyl seized in California by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers from 2020 to 2023. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The graph shows the amount of fentanyl seized in California by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers from 2020 to 2023. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

In 2022, over 6,000 deaths in California were from fentanyl overdoses, accounting for nearly 88 percent of all opioid-related overdose deaths, according to the most recent data from the California Department of Public Health’s Overdose Surveillance Dashboard.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his plan in March for tackling the fentanyl and opioid crisis, which includes an expansion of California National Guard-assisted initiatives that have already resulted in a 594 percent surge in confiscated fentanyl compared to the previous year.
Additionally, the governor has allocated $1 billion, including $172 million to distribute naloxone—an overdose medication also commonly known as “Narcan”—across the state to law enforcement agencies, schools, libraries, homeless services, and other public entities.
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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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