The old adage says that a dog is a man’s (or woman’s) best friend. Well, that is certainly the case when its human happens to work for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and their job is to find drugs trying to enter the country illegally. That’s what happened at a Philadelphia port last week, reports Fox7Austin.
Thanks to that dog, agents found 110 pounds of the deadly opioid fentanyl during a routine screening at the Area Port of Philadelphia. They revealed that those drugs were sent from China. The amazing narcotics detector K9 officer found the stash of fentanyl inside barrels of iron oxide, with 50 packages of the white, powdery substance contained in sealed bags. The estimated value of the drug, if it hit the streets, was approximated at $1.7 million.
“CPB says their fentanyl seizures have been trending upward over the last several years. During 2016, the first year CBP started tracking fentanyl seizures, officers seized 440 pounds nationally. That number grew to 951 pounds in 2017, and 984 pounds through the end of April 2018,” reports Fox29.
CPB sent out a release detailing the seizure.
“Opioids, including fentanyl and its analogues, are a serious public health concern, and the importation of vast amounts of this deadly synthetic chemical compound is a national security threat,” said Casey Durst, CBP Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.
The opioid crisis isn’t just a risk to national security. In 2017, Health and Human Services declared it a public health emergency, as more and more people are being prescribed these drugs, developing a dependency on them, and then overdosing from their use. According to their website fact sheet about the crisis, “opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record. An estimated 40% of opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid.”
They report that in 2016, 11.5 million people were misusing their prescriptions that are usually supposed to help with pain, claiming that 116 people die due to an overdose every day.
The news isn’t all grim. In the middle of June, Inquistir reported that the FDA gave its approval for a generic version of the drug Suboxone that can help combat addiction from opioids. Suboxone is applied under the tongue and when used daily, it can be an effective treatment for opioid cravings, along with the high they produce as well as withdrawal symptoms.
Of course, the drug should be used in conjunction with behavioral therapy and counseling. According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, those who use all three together can cut their risk of death from an overdose in half. Having a generic version, which is usually more affordable, should increase the availability to those who so desperately need it.