One Million Fentanyl Pills Seized in 2019 in Arizona

With an increasing concern over the deadly drug fentanyl, new developments in Arizona have raised some serious alarms. The Arizona DEA seized over 1 million of the fentanyl pills in just this fiscal year alone. Most of the pills were manufactured to resemble oxycodone M-30 tablets, which has deadly consequences for those simply seeking pain relief. The pills are often referred to as “Mexican oxy” and are usually made in Mexico and smuggled into the United States by cartels. This growing number of illegal, deadly pills is alarming to local, state, and national officials.

Recovery in Motion’s Lindsay Keovorabouth sat down with News 4 Tucson to discuss…

The Trend of Fentanyl

Heroin has long been a problem among the addiction and drug enforcement communities. But fentanyl has only recently started to become a trend which began in 2016. During that year, 20,000 pills were seized but the numbers continued to increase at alarming levels. Before the pills were manufactured, fentanyl was typically used as a powder added to heroin. The drug is highly dangerous, and overdose deaths have increased approximately 47% from the years 2016 to 2017. Approximately 28,4000 people died of overdoses due to synthetic opioids in 2017, and that number is increasing.

Members of law enforcement are finding that many overdoses occur due to illegal or illicitly made fentanyl. The number of confiscations of the drug have increased seven fold between 2012 and 2014. Since the drug is made and sold illegally, it’s extremely difficult to trace unless it’s found before it hits the streets. States like Arizona are seeing a serious spike in fentanyl use and overdoses thanks to the state’s proximity to Mexico.

Heroin isn’t the only drug being laced with fentanyl. For many drug users, it’s also being found in cocaine. In January 2019, four people were hospitalized in Fresno, CA with an accidental fentanyl overdose. Two of the patients died. This problem is occurring throughout the country, with other incidents that occurred in Chico, CA, New Haven, CT, and even in British Columbia, Canada. The users believe they’re snorting cocaine, but they ended up ingesting fentanyl instead. Sometimes with deadly consequences.

Effects of Fentanyl Pills on the Body

Fentanyl was once reserved for use in hospitals to help patients cope with pain. However, it’s become a popular street drug that can give addicts a euphoria-like sensation. When fentanyl is abused, the symptoms become serious for the health of the user. Problems like slowed breathing and seizures are quite common. Other side effects include severe headaches coupled with blurred vision and dizziness, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. Another common side effect is extreme itchiness of the skin and fatigue or drowsiness.

For those who have little to no tolerance to opioids, fentanyl pills are extremely dangerous. People without a tolerance are especially vulnerable to overdosing on the drug. Abuse of fentanyl can lead to death since it depresses the respiratory system, causing the person to stop breathing. When it’s mixed with other drugs like heroin or cocaine, the drug’s effects are even more intense and more dangerous. As the drug hits the streets in pill form, it’s more dangerous than ever before.

Arizona and Fentanyl

Overdose deaths in Arizona have increased, with La Paz county having the highest number. Arrests have become more common throughout the state, and three people were recently arrested in connection to a fentanyl drug ring in Tempe. The problem continues to spread throughout the state and it’s increasingly difficult to cope with numbers of overdoses and arrests. Local law enforcement is working in tandem with the DEA to try and keep the issue minimized, but it’s an uphill battle for many counties.

Providing Help for Addicts

Drug addiction tears families apart and destroys lives. With the ever-growing increase of fentanyl use throughout Arizona and across the nation, treatment is more important than ever before. To recover from addiction, people need support and guidance. A rehab facility offers addicts the chance to get the assistance they need for a healthy, sober life. One way fentanyl addicts can get drug rehabilitation and assistance is through a residential rehab program. These programs are specifically designed for addicts who need constant care and monitoring.

Patients who are in danger of chronic relapse should be kept in an inpatient program to ensure they don’t go back to drug use. These programs keep the patients inside the rehab facility and offer them counseling, therapy, and medication as needed. Without this help, most addicts will return to using within a day or two after their release. It’s important for family members and friends to recognize the signs of drug addiction before it’s too late. Admitting someone into a rehab program offers them their best chance at recovery.

In the state of Arizona, the court can give mandatory enrollment to someone for a drug treatment program. However, this only applies to specific cases. If a court deems someone to be a danger to themselves or others, they could be ordered to attend rehab. Other cases may include if someone is disabled.

Opioid Detox

Whether it’s Oxycontin or fentanyl pills, withdrawal from opioids can be extremely dangerous and painful. A detox program can help addicts get the care they need while they rid their bodies of these dangerous drugs. An initial assessment of the patient is made, and then a specific detox treatment plan is created depending on the person’s level of addiction and their current health status. Symptoms are monitored closely to look for any changes in behavior and other markers while the vital signs are checked throughout the detox period. Once detox is complete, the patient can begin getting the therapy and other treatments they need to recover.

The rise of fentanyl pills and other forms of fentanyl is not confined to the State of Arizona. The recent discover of over a million fentanyl pills raises a serious red flag to everyone living in the State of Arizona. Residents should remain vigilant and report any drug activity to local law enforcement. In order for Arizona and other states to rid themselves of this problem, a strong community of people willing to help is extremely important.


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