The family of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger recently revealed that their younger son, Jake, age 20, had died from an accidental fentanyl overdose in May. His family said he took a Xanax that had been laced with a deadly dose of fentanyl. “We pray that sharing Jake’s story will help shed light on this problem and prevent other families from also tragically losing a loved one,” the family said in a statement.
During U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s hearing last week in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., spoke of his college-aged nephew, Eli Weinstock, whom he said died this past year of an accidental overdose after consuming a legal herbal supplement tainted with fentanyl.
For the first time in six years, the DEA released a public warning in September due to a huge increase in these counterfeit pills marketed as prescription pain medications manufactured and sold to unsuspecting Americans that are actually laced with deadly doses of fentanyl and methamphetamine. The DEA warned that pills bought from anywhere other than a pharmacy are potentially lethal.
The DEA has seized more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills this year, more than what was seized in the prior two years combined. Forty percent of those pills contain a lethal dose of fentanyl, according to Derek Maltz, a former special agent for the DEA. Moreover, the number of pills laced with fentanyl has soared 430 percent since 2019.
The deadly problem of tainted pills and the sheer record amount of fentanyl pouring across the U.S. southern border is a direct result of President Joe Biden’s failed immigration policies. So far this year, U.S. officials have seized more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl. A lethal dose of the drug can be as small as 2 milligrams – lighter than a grain of rice. Drug traffickers usually sell fentanyl by kilogram, an amount that has the ability to kill 500,000 Americans.
“Just the amount of fentanyl apprehended just by the Texas Department of Safety just this year is more than enough to kill every man, woman, and child in the states of Texas, California, and New York,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference in early October.
The lack of control of the southern border has allowed drugs to flow more easily into the United States, along with more than 1.7 million migrants this year. Due to its low cost and strength, criminals often mix fentanyl with other drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, leading to its wider consumption. Prior to 2016, more Americans died from heroin overdoses than synthetic opioids, but the numbers have flipped: last year, 57,000 Americans died from synthetic opioid overdoses as opposed to 13,000 from heroin.
At the University of South Carolina, the university police department and other law enforcement agencies seized an alarming amount of heroin and other illegal drugs laced with fentanyl at the end of August. Transactions have moved off of the streets and onto social media and the dark web. A community-wide alert was issued, and the university police warned students that taking counterfeit Adderall, Xanax, Oxycodone and other drugs could be fatal. Other schools have implemented fentanyl awareness programs.
Despite local law enforcement’s efforts, the only real solution is to address the root of the problem: Biden’s open border policies. This is more than just a national security crisis or a humanitarian crisis, although the historic increase in migrants from all over the world is both of those things. This is a public health crisis.