SAN ANTONIA – According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of overdose deaths in the United States has officially reached a record high.

Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration report that the main culprit is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is dangerously addictive and deadly.

This trend, unfortunately, is also observed in San Antonio.

“Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than morphine, 100 times more potent than heroin. Two milligrams, the tip of a pencil, the amount of fentanyl can kill someone, ”said DEA Special Agent Assistant Corey D. Handy Sr.

Handy said fentanyl seizures in San Antonio have increased by 48% in the past six months.

Most of these seizures occur in the form of counterfeit prescription pills.

“The DEA lab shows that four out of 10 counterfeit pills contain a lethal dose of fentanyl,” Handy said.

The DEA reported 432 overdose-related deaths in Bexar County in 2020. 37% of these deaths were from methamphetamine and 16% from fentanyl-mixed drugs.

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A new CDC report shows that overdoses in America in 2021 were the highest of all time.

Nearly 108,000 people died, and 66% of those deaths were related to fentanyl.

Experts fear the problem will only get worse, so last fall the DEA launched an information campaign called “One Pill Can Kill.”

“Please do not take pills that are not prescribed by your doctor and given to a reputable pharmacy,” Handy said.

Handy said Mexican cartels are a major source of fentanyl in the U.S. and are working to increase drug availability and expand their domestic brand in San Antonio.

“Drug dealers and drug manufacturers, they just need to do a little to get the effect the consumer wants. So it’s great for business when it comes to illicit drug use, ”says Dr. Lenoi Galves, a psychiatrist with Baptist Medical Network.

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Fentanyl is extremely addictive, which means that they are easily regular customers, regardless of whether they know they are consuming fentanyl.

The problem with curbing this goal is how drug dealers reach their customers.

“They no longer hang out on street corners. They use such social networks as the dark network, ”he said.

So parents need to be super-experienced.

“So now you have kids who, if they accidentally get a fake pill, be it Xanax, thinking they’re going to treat their anxiety, or it’s Adderall from ADHD, they’re taking fentanyl,” Galves said.

Galves said parents should look for signs of change in their children.

“He’s not very bathed, he’s not very engaged in terms of family dynamics. If he is intoxicated, you will see the exact pupils, ”Galves said. “So, the pupils will narrow, otherwise they will be very, very small. They will be in euphoria, but they will seem to nod their heads and out of consciousness. “

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Handy said addiction can be lifelong, so it’s important to prevent it by constantly checking your child’s social media accounts.

“Please talk to your children about counterfeit pills, the dangers of counterfeit drugs and, of course, fentanyl,” Handy said.

One conversation could save their lives.

Signs of fentanyl dependence

Physical symptoms:

  • Narrowed pupils

  • drowsiness

  • insomnia

  • psychomotor arousal

Cognitive symptoms:

  • breach of opinion

  • difficulty with attention

  • difficulty concentrating

  • memory impairment

  • craving for fentanyl

  • suicidal thoughts

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • depression

  • euphoria, usually accompanied by apathy

  • decreased interest in things you were once interested in

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