COLUMN: It’s Not Candy ... It’s a Killer

by John (Robinhawk) Hawkins

As I write this article, I doubt that the majority of our readers will be getting on a commercial jet today and we certainly wouldn’t expect that plane to crash, killing all 300-plus of its passengers.

What if a plane such as a Boeing 777 crashed every day of the week, killing more than 2,100 weekly and 109,000 yearly? Wouldn’t that make you scared to even get on a plane? That’s how many people overdose and die every day from fentanyl poisoning. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50-100 times stronger than morphine or heroin. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients but has now been diverted for drug abuse by criminals.

The scary thing is the number of deaths it has caused. Counterfeit fentanyl pills are often disguised as something different. One student bought what she thought was Adderall but died within 15 minutes because it was fentanyl instead. The same kind of event has happened when some thought they were buying Percocet or Xanax, but were laced with fentanyl and they ended up dead. Similar things can happen with other seemingly harmless fake pills.

This is not something that we can say “it’s just affecting drug abusers and not me” … it does. Fentanyl-laced pills have already been discovered in Cherokee County.

News Nation, in an April 1, 2022, press release, said that last year, “11,201 pounds of fentanyl were seized by Customs and Border Protection, which is enough to kill every American nearly seven times over.” And these figures reflect only what is seized, and doesn’t account for the amounts that smugglers successfully bring into this country. There is no way to estimate those numbers.

As little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl, an amount that would fit on the point of a pencil, is considered a potentially lethal dose, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA estimates one kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people.

Most of these pills are produced in other countries, mainly China, Mexico and India. However, an increasing number of pills laced with fentanyl are being produced in the U.S. They usually are produced in substandard conditions, labeled incorrectly and may include dangerous, unapproved substances. There are no quality control mechanisms in the illicit labs producing fake pills to ensure dosing is not lethal.
Today, one of the most frightening of things is the flood of “rainbow” fentanyl that comes in a verity of colors and resembles common candy. It is not! This stuff is so dangerous, that even touching something that is contaminated with the drug can cause serious health issues and possible death. Drug-sniffing dogs cannot help, because if they get close enough to smell it, they also could die simply due to the molecules from the scent.

Counterfeit pills purchased online or through social media websites pose a serious public health and safety hazard. These pills may contain the wrong ingredients, contain too little, too much or no active ingredient at all, or contain other, potentially life-threatening hidden ingredients, such as fentanyl or methamphetamine.

DEA lab analysis has identified pills ranging from .02 milligrams to 5.1 milligrams of fentanyl per tablet, with 26% of the counterfeit pills tested containing a lethal dose of fentanyl.

We must realize how serious and dangerous this stuff is. With Halloween and trick-or-treating coming up in just a few weeks, every parent needs to be vigilant as to where you child goes and what treats they bring home. Be sure to go to events you can trust and put on by people you know. Check all the candy carefully and it might not be a bad idea to use latex gloves while inspecting it.

“Disguising fentanyl as candy – and concealing it in children’s toys – will never hide the fact that fentanyl is a deadly poison that harms our communities, our families, and our city,” said New York Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “Using happy colors to make a deadly drug seem fun and harmless is a new low, even for the Mexican cartels.”

This is not a party or recreational drug nor is it one for fun or for kicks. It is a dangerous poison that is killing us at a rate of 300-plus per day.

From the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency): The U.S. overdose crisis has reached a devastating new height with more than 100,000 people dying over the last year from drug overdoses.
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