American Deaths brought to you by Communist Red China.
The dozen packages were shipped from China to mail centers and residences in Southern California. One box was labeled as a “Hole Puncher.”
In fact, it was a quarter-ton pill press, which federal investigators allege was destined for a suburban Los Angeles drug lab. The other packages, shipped throughout January and February, contained materials for manufacturing fentanyl, an opioid so potent that in some forms it can be deadly if touched.
“We have seen an influx of fentanyl directly from China,” said Carole Rendon, the acting US attorney for the northern district of Ohio in Cleveland. “It’s being shipped by carrier. It’s hugely concerning because fentanyl is so incredibly deadly.”
The China connection is allowing local drug dealers in North America to mass produce fentanyl in pill form, in some cases producing tablets that look identical to an oft-abused version of the prescription painkiller OxyContin.
It also has been added to Xanax pills. And last week, fentanyl pills made to resemble the painkiller hydrocodone were blamed for a wave of overdoses in the Sacramento area, including nine deaths.
The fentanyl pills are often disguised as other painkillers because those drugs fetch a higher price on the street, even though they are less potent, according to police.
In British Columbia, police took down a lab at a custom car business that was allegedly shipping 100,000 fentanyl pills a month to nearby Calgary, Alberta where 90 people overdosed on the drug last year.
People who unknowingly take fentanyl — either in pill form or when cut into heroin — can easily overdose because it is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and many times that of heroin,
A recent report by the CDC identified 998 fatal fentanyl overdoses in Ohio in 2014 and the first five months of 2015. Last month, federal prosecutors in Cleveland