Law enforcement officials at the state and federal level are aggressively prosecuting fentanyl-related crimes, The Washington Post reports.
The officials are using rarely used statutes that treat overdose deaths as homicides. They are seizing large quantities of fentanyl and charging foreign nationals with wide-ranging conspiracies. In fiscal year 2017, federal prosecutors charged 267 people with fentanyl-related crimes, compared with 74 the previous year.
“We’re seeing just a lot more fentanyl cases,” said Mary Daly, who heads opioid enforcement and prevention efforts at the Justice Department. The increase from 2016 to 2017 is “good because that means we’re catching some of it and we’re enforcing the law. But it also means that there’s more fentanyl supply,” she said.
How Can I Protect My Child from Fentanyl? 5 Things Parents Need to Know
Deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids (not including methadone), rose a staggering 72 percent in just one year, from 2014 to 2015. Government agencies and officials of all types are rightly concerned by what some are describing as the third wave of our ongoing opioid epidemic.