Multiple types of Fentanyl flood the Reading area, leaving trail of deaths
Small towns all across Pennsylvania have been especially hard hit by the ongoing opioid crisis.
In Reading and surrounding Berks County, the number of deaths involving them has more than tripled in the course of five years.
District Attorney John T. Adams notes that 70 percent of drug deaths in the county now involve fentanyl, compared to 21 percent two years ago.
“Fentanyl almost exclusively is being brought into our country – being exported into our country – by two different places, China and Mexico,” he said. “Federal authorities need to do a better job at stopping the flow of illicit fentanyl.”
The Reading Eagle reports that one 22-year-old Topton woman who died of an overdose in October had six different forms of fentanyl in her body, including some he had not previously seen in Berks.
Fentanyl is extremely potent — up to 50 times stronger than heroin — and can be deadly in very small doses. It is often secretly mixed with other drugs such as counterfeit oxycodone tablets or methamphetamine. As authorities regulate certain compounds, criminal manufacturers have been quickly making other derivatives that skirt outside the law.
Fentanyl is much cheaper to manufacture than heroin and is being made in large quantities in Mexican cartel drug labs or being mailed from China to the U.S. in much smaller amounts.
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To read more about how Reading, PA is struggling to address the opioid crisis, please visit the Reading Eagle.