As thousands of citizens die from overdose deaths in Texas, a new state law cracks down on (one) of the nation’s deadliest street drugs known as fentanyl. Fentanyl is responsible for the majority of those deaths. On July 21st, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ceremonially signed Senate Bill 768 into law at the Crime Stoppers Corporate Office in the Midtown section of downtown Houston.
Prior to signing the bill, Governor Abbott said, “I’m about to sign a law intended to crush the spread of fentanyl in Texas. It cracks down on the manufacturing and delivery of fentanyl.”
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid mostly used to treat patients and alleviate cancer pain. When used by an individual to get a high the fentanyl drug affects the brain and central nervous system similar to other opioid analgesics such as morphine, heroin or other illicit drugs.
Drug overdose deaths involving usage of synthetic opioids like fentanyl rose almost 30 percent in 2020 to a record high of 93,000 opioid deaths, up from 50,963 in 2019, according to the Center for Disease Control.
“Every one of those people, somebody loved them,” said Keith Humphreys, in a Washington Post story about the steady increase of overdose deaths due to related fentanyl substances. Humphrey is a psychiatry Professor at Stanford University and also an expert on addiction and drug policy.
“It’s terrifying. It’s the biggest increase in overdose deaths in the history of the United States.”
Killing Everyone in Texas
This year alone, Texas Department of Public Safety investigators and patrol officers have seized enough fentanyl to kill every person in Texas and California combined. The massive amounts account for a 950% increase compared to last year’s seizures of fentanyl. Most seized fentanyl enters the state of Texas through the southern Texas-Mexico borderline.
Under Senate Bill 768, originally sponsored by Texas Senator Joan Huffman and State Representative Ann Johnson, the punishment for the manufacture or delivery of 4-200 grams of fentanyl the penalty carries a minimum of ten years in prison and up to life in prison. The minimum sentence increases to 15 years in prison if a dope dealer is caught with 200-400 grams of fentanyl, and, if a dealer is caught with over 400 grams of the deadly drug the minimum punishment is 20 years in prison and up to life in prison as well.
“We have a duty to fight back against the scourge that is fentanyl in our communities, which is why I proudly signed Senate Bill 768 into law,” said Governor Abbott, during the press conference.
Open Borders Kill Americans
Abbott fired off a barrage of criticism at President Joe Biden.
“The Biden Administration’s open border policies have opened the floodgates for this deadly drug to make its way into our communities, but we are taking action to stop this epidemic and by cracking down on the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl, we will help save lives here in Texas and across America.”
Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA) distributed a warning report to the public through news media outlets in 2019, which stated the following:
“Capitalizing on the opioid epidemic and prescription drug abuse in the United States, Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations are now sending counterfeit pills made with fentanyl in bulk to the United States for distribution.”
“Fentanyl takes care of its own addicts because it can kill them,” former Houston Police Department veteran Narcotic Officer and past president of the historical Texas Narcotic Officers Association Abe Vanderberry told Newsblaze, in an interview.
Vanderberry brings up the fact that opioid users generally don’t know what they’re getting off the streets. “There’s no way for addicts to know what they’re getting to get a correct dosage of fentanyl that comes from a garage (dope dealing) chemist because garage chemists aren’t licensed pharmacists.” Vanderberry further said he felt if a fentanyl trafficker served day-for-day in prison that this kind of sentence would probably be better. Vanderberry admitted he didn’t have “a problem with the increase in penalty for fentanyl traffickers but in theory, ‘DWI’s probably kill more innocent people than fentanyl, but has the governor increased the sentences for those people.'”
Fentanyl has been in the medical field since around 1959. Doctors primarily used the opioid as an anesthetic and pain reliever. During the 1960s’ era, fentanyl was used as an intravenous anesthetic called Sublimaze. Around the early 1990s’ the fentanyl patches were used to treat chronic pain resulting from cancer disease.
Across America there is a specific increase in fentanyl-related deaths among teenagers and young adults who haphazardly ingested counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl to increase the potency. Teenagers and young adults are particularly vulnerable to misunderstanding the risks associated with opioid misuse, addiction, and the dangerous spiral into using opioids as a party drug, especially the use of hydrocodone, Xanax or Ecstasy pills.
Experts in the addiction field surmise that many youngsters usually have no idea what they’re buying off the streets in pill form, therefore, it’s a crapshoot whether they live or die after purchasing fentanyl-laced pills that they thought was a simple Xanax or X pill. Street dealers love to sell these pills to those desperate for a high. The illegal drug market is alive and well, even though it brings life threatening symptoms.
“The amount of fentanyl that it takes to overdose on is like two grains of salt,” Fresno County, California District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp told ABC News 30 in February. She said the unwary victims who either overdose on fentanyl or die from it had no idea the pills they were taking were mixed with fentanyl to boost a high.
“They are signing up for Xanax and they are getting fentanyl; they are signing up for oxycontin and they are getting fentanyl,” Smittcamp said. Sixteen people have died this year in the county where Smittcamp is the elected District Attorney. Fentanyl-laced heroin is often referred to as “King of Death” or Grey Death. The street monikers are used to identify the illicit drugs that play into the irresistible demand of heroin users to get the most potent euphoria high. Social media apps like Snapchat, Cashapp and Venmo are used by dealers to sell fentanyl to customers, thus in many narcotic sales, the dealer and user never meet in person.
Investigators have also discovered how the underworld profits involving the sale of fentanyl is a killer itself!
For example, a kilo of heroin can bring a profit of $50,000. But a kilo of fentanyl can easily reap a windfall.
The profits for a kilo of fentanyl is at least $1 million dollars profit.
Celebrities Overdosed on Fentanyl
Fentanyl doesn’t discriminate. It is an equal opportunity for anyone to ingest fentanyl and either overdose and barely escape death or die instantly. Famous celebrities have died from the fentanyl epidemic. Popular actress and singer Demi Lovato almost died after overdosing on Oxycodone laced with fentanyl and Rapper Lil Peep died of a combination of Xanax and fentanyl. Multiple sources told investigators Lil Peep didn’t know the Xanax had anything else mixed into it. Superstar singer Prince died in 2016 after taking Vicodin mixed with fentanyl.
Fentanyl Discovered in Ecstasy Pills Soars Overdose Deaths in Houston
Houston Police Narcotic Officers and Drug Enforcement Agents used the power of news media outlets earlier this year during spring season to warn Houstonians in the Bayou city about how the local chemists discovered ecstasy pills laced with fentanyl, the powerful opioid responsible for excessive overdoses and deaths throughout the nation including Houston.
Houston Forensic Science Center(HFSC) analysts reported to local authorities that although they previously discovered fentanyl in “fake” pharmaceuticals and powders, yet the discovery of fentanyl mixed into ecstasy pills marked the first discovery. Houston Police Department Chief James Jones, citing statistics, said, “About 960 people died from overdose related deaths in the greater Houston area in 2019.”
Jones said 135 more victims died of a lethal dose of fentanyl in 2019. Fentanyl played a big role in contributing to those aforementioned deaths.
Houston Third Ward Overdoses
Houston’s historic Third Ward recorded the highest number of fatal fentanyl overdose cases.
To combat the ceaseless scourge of fentanyl-related deaths in the city of Houston, Houston Police Department (HPD) at 1200 Travis street, assembled team officers from the narcotic division whose assignment was to respond to non-fatal fentanyl overdoses to coax victims into treatment. Subsequently, the narcotic officers Vanessa Wiltz and Lloyd Hicks would try to extract a statement from the person who overdosed on a particular drug to build a criminal case against dope pushers for supplying potent narcotics to the addicted users. Assistant Chief Jones noted the officers filed charges in six cases and that so far the officers identified at least 30 other pushers who sold drugs to addicts who either overdosed or got a lethal dose and died.
Houston-based DEA agents have seized plenty of fentanyl in recent years. During 2019, DEA agents seized approximately 50 kilos of fentanyl. Last year in 2020, seizure of fentanyl increased to 323 kilograms, and this year in 2021, agents, so far, seized over 200 kilos of fentanyl. DEA Special Agent Erik Smith blamed the increase of fentanyl on a wave of drugs imported from Mexico. Fentanyl is synthesized from chemicals shipped to Mexico from China.
“They see this as purely market share,” Smith explained to a Houston Chronicle reporter.
Referring to people’s use of illegal narcotics, Daniel Comeaux, Special Agent in Charge of Houston’s Drug Enforcement Administration, in an interview with local Fox 26 news Reporter Greg Groogan issued a public awareness warning. “Don’t take the pill. Don’t play Russian Roulette with your life because that is what’s happening right now.”
Comeaux insists that pill manufacturing operations in Texas, including around the country (pills laced with fentanyl) are controlled by Mexican Drug Cartels (MDC) through production and distribution. The same drugs are then trafficked by Houston area’s 400 identified criminal gangs, according to Comeaux. Comeaux further explained that his agents are aggressively working to crack the gangs in close partnership with local law enforcement.
In the netherworld of the millennial culture our youngest and brightest loved ones are dying at frightening proportions across America and beyond from fentanyl and other potent opioids. How can we as ones who don’t engage in similar behavior can help those willing to risk their lives for a quick high that may kill them?
Fentanyl trafficking has brought much death and near-fatal overdoses in Tarrant County, Fort Worth, Texas. Authorities are practically overwhelmed there by the sudden increase.
“We need to draw a line in the sand to protect our children and we need our parents to invade the space of their children and know what they’re doing on social media and who they are connecting to,” Tarrant County Sheriff Bill E. Waybourn, recently said in a news story. “We need everyone’s help or they(the parents) are going into that bedroom and finding their 15-or-16-year-old is gone.”
Dealers Get Rich, Immature Kids Die
Money is no doubt the root cause of evil and drug dealers are getting rich and richer off the death of young immature, impressionable lives, those who thought they were getting a cool-style high, but tragically, died from fentanyl, and never got a chance to really live.
Any questions or comments, contact Newsblaze criminal justice and narcotic trafficking reporter Clarence Walker at: [email protected]m