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Fact Check: Cartels Are Increasingly Lacing Marijuana With Deadly Fentanyl

Fact Check: Cartels Are Increasingly Lacing Marijuana With Deadly Fentanyl

Marijuana

Photo: This undated photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Los Angeles Field Division, shows some of the seized approximately 1 million fake pills containing fentanyl, July 5, 2022. (DEA via AP)

In 2017, 59 percent of opioid-related deaths involved the deadly drug fentanyl, compared to 14.3 percent in 2010, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and
50 times more potent than heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). It is both a prescribed drug, as well as a drug that is at times made and used illegally. Illegally manufactured fentanyl is sold as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into counterfeit pills that look like other prescription opioids. It has been added to other drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy. Now many public officials in various states are warning of fentanyl being added to marijuana.

But marijuana advocates and many health officials are also saying that the tales of fentanyl-laced marijuana is in most cases so rare it is an urban myth.

There have been various news reports popping up about fentanyl-laced weed, such as a recent NBC News report of a 16-year-old high school student in Connecticut who was hospitalized after an overdose from suspected fentanyl-laced pot. After this and other similar reports, the Connecticut State Department of Public Health issued a warning about the possible dangers of fentanyl-laced marijuana.


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According to Forbes‘ cannabis reporter Chris Roberts, “fentanyl-tainted cannabis may not actually be a thing—and, if it is, rarer than the snow leopard. According to a review of data and some interviews with harm-reduction specialists, marijuana laced with fentanyl is either so rare as to pose a risk more remote than one in a million. Or it’s a total ‘myth,’ yet one that keeps being repeated by law enforcement, public-health agencies, and the media.”

Dennis Cauchon, the president of Harm Reduction Ohio, told Forbes he has seen fentanyl pop up in
in Ohio in cocaine, methamphetamine, bunk pills, but not marijuana.

“Fentanyl and analogs are in pretty much all illegal drugs, except marijuana,” Cauchon said. “Fentanyl-laced marijuana is a myth.”

Others say they if it s a myth, marijuana laced with fentanyl might not be far off as drug cartels are doing big business on fentanyl.

Fentanyl seizures at the California border continue to spike, making San Diego a national epicenter for fentanyl trafficking, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of California.

In the first nine months of fiscal year 2022 (October through June), U.S. Customs and Border Protection law enforcement agencies in San Diego and Imperial counties (CBP Field Operations and Border Patrol) seized 5,091 pounds of fentanyl. This amounted to about 60 percent of the 8,425 pounds of fentanyl seized around the entire country.

Photo: This undated photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Los Angeles Field Division, shows some of the seized approximately 1 million fake pills containing fentanyl that were seized when agents served a search warrant, July 5, 2022, at a home in Inglewood, Calif. (DEA via AP)