A federal indictment was unsealed yesterday charging 25 defendants in a narcotics trafficking conspiracy, according to Middle District of North Carolina United States Attorney Sandra J. Hairston.
The indictment, which followed a two-year investigation, charges the individuals involved with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cocaine hydrochloride in multiple counties in North Carolina, including Guilford, Randolph, Durham, and Montgomery counties.
If convicted, individual defendants face penalties ranging from up to 20 years, five years to 40 years, or 10 years to life, for narcotics conspiracy, distribution and possession with intent to distribute – depending on the drug amounts involved in the offenses.
The country’s fentanyl crisis has become a potent political weapon, reflecting its deep and emotional impact on millions of Americans.
Why it matters: The opioid epidemic was once a rare topic that brought Republicans and Democrats together. But even as overdose deaths continue to climb, the discourse around fentanyl has become more politicized and, at times, less aligned with reality — especially when Republicans talk about its connection to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“When it gets to the front page, sometimes the incentives can be to use it more as a partisan weapon,” said Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral services at Stanford.
But also, “there is a human part. Everyone’s upset. We have all these dead bodies. People are burying their children and communities are getting destroyed.”
The DEA calls fentanyl “the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered” yet the U.S. has struggled over administrations to address the growing crisis.
In an exclusive interview with Meet the Press, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas discusses the crisis of fentanyl flowing into America and the Biden administration’s plan to handle an expected surge of migrants at the southern border.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) joins Meet the Press to discuss his state’s challenges in fighting addiction and the federal government’s failed responses in previous administrations.
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram says the Biden administration’s approach to the fentanyl epidemic is not a war on drugs but “a fight to save lives” and addresses China and Mexico’s roles in the illicit drug trade in an interview with Meet the Press.
Fatal overdoses involving fentanyl have surged in recent years in the US and new research shows that deaths among children have increased significantly, mirroring trends among adults.
More than 5,000 children and teens have died from overdoses involving fentanyl in the past two decades, according to data published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. More than half of those deaths occurred in the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
There were about 1,550 pediatric deaths from fentanyl in 2021 – over 30 times more than in 2013, when the wave of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids started in the US.
Jan. 23—RALEIGH — A number of activists from across the country met in Raleigh on Saturday for an event meant to raise awareness of fentanyl, including Oxford’s Patricia Drewes.
“Children are going to experiment [with drugs], but they should not have to pay for that experiment with their lives,” Drewes said. “And that’s what is happening. That’s what is happening in this country … Our children are being murdered, and poisoned in broad open daylight on American soil. And something has to be done.
Bloomberg has posted an article which has a detailed analysis of the increase of fentanyl related deaths over the past decade. The article contains a number of dynamic graphics and should be viewed on the Bloomberg web site. The graphic above is just one of the many graphics included in the article.
Lillianna Alfaro was a recent high school graduate raising a toddler and considering joining the Army when she and a friend bought what they thought was the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in December 2020.
The pills were fake and contained fentanyl, an opioid that can be 50 times as powerful as the same amount of heroin. It killed them both.
“Two years ago, I knew nothing about this,” said Holly Groelle, the mother of 19-year-old Alfaro, who lived in Appleton, Wisconsin. “I felt bad because it was something I could not have warned her about, because I didn’t know.”