The numbers are horrifying, but drug overdose death statistics can't fully convey the crisis ravaging America, so DailyMail.com has documented the suffering in some of the worst-affected communities.
There were 107,622 deaths from drug overdoses in the US in 2021, an increase of nearly 15 percent from the year prior, and shocking national trends show few signs of the crisis abating.
Just two milligrams of fentanyl - the amount that fits on the top of a pencil tip - is deadly. Despite successfulnationwide stings to bust dealers,authorities admit there's no end in sight for the epidemic.
The animal sedative Xylazine - known as 'tranq' - is now exacerbating the crisis. It's often combined with fentanyl and its horrific effects causevisceral 'flesh-eating' abscessesand addicts to zonk out as they lose feeling in their muscles.
These harrowing pictures lay bare the devastation across the country - as 'zombied' fentanyl and tranq users collapse on needle-littered streets stretching from Washington to Massachusetts, Louisiana to Philadelphia.
SACRAMENTO: Fentanyl users in the dirt in front of the Capitol building in California's capital.According to official data, there were 5,622 fentanyl-related fatal overdoses in California in 2021 - nearly 225 of those were teenagers as young as 15 years old
PHILADELPHIA: Huddled on the edge of the sidewalk, a woman helps inject drugs into a man's arm, aided by a band to find his veins
LOUISIANA: A man is passed out on Bienville Street in New Orleans. Just last April, drug-related deaths in the city rose by one third compared to a year prior, according to a local coroner who blames fentanyl
BOSTON: A man, with needle in hand, is bent over after injecting drugs. He uses a wheelchair to stop himself from collapsing
PORTLAND: One man smokes fentanyl while another slumps next to him. A major issue in Portland is how accessible the drugs are. People can pay as little as $1 for a fentanyl pill, compared toup to $20 a year ago
Deaths caused by fentanyl in the US surged in the 2010s. At the start of the decade, 2,666 Americans died of a fentanyl overdose. This figure shot up to 19,413 by 2016. Covid made the situation worse, with a record 72,484 deaths recorded in 2021
The above graph shows the cumulative annual figure for the number of drug overdose deaths reported in the US by month. It also shows that they are continuing to trend upwards
Washington was ranked third worst in the US for illicit drug use disorder - narrowly beaten by Oregon - and the grip that narcotics like fentanyl have on the addict populationin the state seems to be spiraling out of control.
Drug-related deaths in 2021 surpassed 2,000 - a staggering 66 percent increase for Washington compared to two years prior.
The dire situation means that authorities in Seattle have had to warn that people using drugs should assume that 'any drugs bought on the street, online, or from a friend has fentanyl'.
Photos taken by DailyMail.com in the Democrat-led city show struggling individuals bent over and injecting themselves near homeless tent camps and dingy underpasses.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: A man stares down at the tinfoil in which his fentanyl is burned, before he inhales the smoke through the rollup in his mouth
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: Images show people bent over, injecting themselves with substances near homeless tent camps.Just last week, officials in Washington state made the terrifying announcement that they have run out of space in morgues and crematoriums as the drug tears through local communities
How addictive is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, one of the most commonly used pain-reliever in the world.
It takes just a small dose of fentanyl to cause an overdose. Just two milligrams - the equivalent of five grains of salt - is enough to cause death.
Because it is cut into other popular drugs, many people who die of overdoses do not know they are taking fentanyl.
Fentanyl has been partially blamed for America's sharp fall in life-expectancy over the past three years.
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Heroine used to be the drug of choice among Seattle's downtown population, but since fentanyl's disturbing takeover, locals are increasingly likely to see people bent over and zonked out.
One disheveled man was seen staring down at the tinfoil in which his fentanyl was burned, before he inhaled the smoke through the rollup in his mouth.
Captain Steve Strand, commander of the Seattle Police Department's West Precinct, described his experience watching drug users 'zombied out' in Seattle.
'You can drive down the street and see somebody who has obviously just used fentanyl and can barely stand and is bent over and looks like they're about ready to collapse', he told theSeattle Times.
'And when you come back in the other direction 15 minutes later, they're up and walking around like nothing happened. Then they're back to finding the next one.'
Just last week, officials in Washington state made the terrifying announcement that they have run out of space in morgues and crematoriums as the drug tears through local communities.
According to officials with the King County Medical Examiner's Office, the department is struggling to keep up with the number of incoming bodies as the fentanyl crisis worsens.
Seattle-King County Public Health Director Dr. Faisal Khan said: 'A key indication of just how bad things are at the end of 2022 and likely to get worse [in] 2023, the medical examiner's office is now struggling with the issue of storing bodies because the fentanyl-related death toll continues to climb.'
The issue in Seattle seems to go deeper - as the help that people found in possession of drugs get isn't beingproperly tracked in any database. The 'cobbled-together' process of trying to reprimand drug users or provide them with treatment is getting harder and harder to enforce, locals say.
In 2021, courts in Seattle scrapped a law making hard-drug possession - including cocaine, meth, and heroin - a felony. Now, the crime is a misdemeanor - and social commentators believe this is a huge reason for Seattle's current issues.
Clutching on to a needle, one man is completely bent over on the streets of Seattle
A man is seen collapsed on the ground in Seattle, Washington, where the help that people found in possession of drugs get isn't being properly tracked
The drug Xylazine, or 'tranq,' has been found in more than 90 percent of fentanyl samples in Philadelphia. It often causes gashing wounds and abscesses.
So much so that in Philadelphia, emergency rooms have seen skin and soft issue injuries increase four-fold in the last three years.
Philadelphia has become the epicenter for tranq, which has rapidly made its way into the city's drug supply as a cheap and very potent cutting agent.
The component in the illicit drugs causes a sedative effect - turning users into zombies slumping around on the streets of the city. Unlike opioids (fentanyl is a synthetic opioid), tranq overdoses cannot be curtailed with naloxone, the emergency opioid overdose reversal drug.
Shocking images taken by DailyMail.com in the City of Brotherly Love show vulnerable people in a trance-like state, unaware of their limbs, unable to move, and sprawled on the ground.
Unbothered drug users were also seen shooting up - using needles injected into their necks - while casually sitting on benches near McPherson Square Park - aptly known by locals as 'Needle Park.'
PHILADELPHIA: Seemingly using a mirror to direct themselves, one person casually shoots up, injecting a needle into their neck during the daytime
PHILADELPHIA:Blocks and blocks in the Kensington area of the city have been overrun with people tumbling over themselves during the fatal highs
PHILADELPHIA: The streets are covered in little orange needle covers that have been discarded after people have shot up. There was no discretion in sight - with drugs being openly used and passed around in plain view in Philadelphia
Some use jagged shards of mirror to watch where they are injecting, while others get fellow addicts to help send the deadly substances into their skin for them.
Thebedraggled, zonked-out locals often sit on the edge of trashed sidewalks, curled up with used needles still in hand.
So-called zombie camps have also formed in Kensington, Philadelphia. Gangs of users, huddled together among odd furniture, tents and makeshift fires, sit and take turns injecting and feeling the effects of tranq-infused fentanyl.
Blocks and blocks in the area have been overrun with people tumbling over themselves during their fatal highs.
PHILADELPHIA: A man, covered in a blanket smoking a pipe, watches a makeshift fire created to keep them warm on the streets in January
PHILADELPHIA: One person completely folds in on themselves after doing drugs on the streets of Philadelphia
Unintentional drug overdose deaths in Philadelphia have increased, reaching a record high in 2021. City officials estimated Philadelphia's 2021 death toll from drug overdoses at 1,250, slightly above the previous peak in 2017. In 2019, about one-third of all fatal opioid overdoses in the city were related to xylazine
PHILADELPHIA: One man injects narcotics into the neck of another in Kensington, Philadelphia.Tranq can increase the chance of fatal overdose - especially when combined with fentanyl - because it intensifies the effects of respiratory depression
PHILADELPHIA: A man injects drugs. Locals often sit on the edge of trashed sidewalks, curled up with used needles in hand
PHILDADELPHIA: One woman uses a shard of mirror to check where she is injecting herself, on the streets of Kensington
Drug overdoses among teens DOUBLED in past two years - fueled by fentanyl epidemic
Drug overdose deaths among US teens doubled from 2019 to 2021 - even as use of illicit substances declined - as fentanyl fueled a nationwide crisis.
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The streets of Philly are often covered in little orange needle covers that have been discarded after people have shot up. There is rarely any discretion in sight - as drugs were being openly used and passed around in plain view, pictures reveal.
Tranq can increase the chance of fatal overdose - especially when combined with fentanyl - because it intensifies the effects of respiratory depression.
Joseph Friedman, an addiction researcher at UCLA who researched the current state in Philadelphia, said: 'The drug supply is really a mess right now.
'The number of contaminants is just spiraling out of control, and it's really hard to keep track of. People are not buying what they think they're buying, or they don't know what they're buying.'
Sarah Laurel, founder of outreach organization Savage Sisters, told The Philadelphia Inquirer: 'I've never seen human beings remain in these kinds of conditions.
'They have open, gaping wounds, they can't walk.'
Savage Sisters operates seven recovery houses in South Philadelphia, where those recovering from drug addiction can get a hot shower, food, and have their wounds cleaned.
Xylazine is not approved for human use, and is thought to have initially been added to fentanyl to elongate the high.There is no FDA-approved treatment for xylazine withdrawal.
In Philadelphia - considered to be ground zero for the xylazine crisis - about one-third of all fatal opioid overdoses in 2019 were related to the drug.
PHILADELPHIA: One man is seen passed out, unable to control his limbs, on the street
KENSINGTON, PHILADELPHIA: A man smokes fentanyl in a park.Tranq can increase the chance of fatal overdose when combined with fentanyl because it intensifies the effects of respiratory depression
KENSINGTON, PHILADELPHIA: A woman is seen using a needle on the street.Philadelphia has become the epicenter for xylazine, which has rapidly made its way into the city's drug supply as a cheap and very potent cutting agent
KENSINGTON, PHILADELPHIA: One man, right, holds needles while a second person, left, slumps over - fentanyl and tranq can cause what have been described as 'zombie-like' effects
PHILADELPHIA: Orange tips, which can be seen here on the steps, come from used needles. The epidemic has got worse and worse in Philadelphia
San Francisco and Sacramento, California
Fentanyl has killed thousands of Californians in recent years. According to official data, there were 5,622 fentanyl-related fatal overdoses in 2021 - with nearly 225 of those being teenagers as young as 15 years old.
In January, a senate bill was introduced, requiring all K-12 schools to carry a supply ofnaloxone on-site in the event of an fentanyl overdose at school. The shocking, but perhaps unsurprising change stems from the rampant counterfeit market in California.
Placer County in Greater Sacramento saw fentanyl deaths increase by 450 percent between 2019 and 2021.
And in 2021, half of those fatalities were victims under the age of 25.Targeting schools withantidotes has therefore become a priority in California.
Announcing the move as part of a $97million spending budget to tackle the opioid and fentanyl crisis, California Governor Gavin Newsom said: 'This is a top priority.There's not a parent out there that doesn't understand the significance of this fentanyl crisis.'
In Sacramento, drug users continue to smoke fentanyl on the streets, in clear view of commuters, families, and children. DailyMail.com pictures show users, armed with pipes and tinfoil, smoking the deadly drugs before curling up on the concrete floor.
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA: A man stands on a street corner and smokes fentanyl.Placer County in Greater Sacramento saw fentanyl deaths increase by 450 percent between 2019 and 2021
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA: Governor Gavin Newsom has said: 'This is a top priority. There's not a parent out there that doesn't understand the significance of this fentanyl crisis'
SACRAMENTO: One man lies on the ground while smoking what is believed to be fentanyl.Placer County in Greater Sacramento saw fentanyl deaths increase by 450 percent between 2019 and 2021
San Francisco's Department of Public Health has had to issue urgent warnings in the past after the city experience a series of fatal overdoses after people were inadvertently exposed to fentanyl while taking cocaine.
And the reality for many locals is that the city has turned 'dystopian' - where drug users are seen bent over, taking narcotics in the middle of the day.
Tech executive Michelle Tandler, 37, recently revealed her experience seeing 'hundreds' of people on the streets 'folded over' after smoking the fatal drug.
Tandler said: 'Last night I went to a bar in downtown San Francisco. It looked like a dystopia. I saw hundreds of people folded over (likely high on Fentanyl), or sitting on the sidewalks smoking.'
Despite the city's efforts, 2022 saw 620 people die from overdoses in San Francisco - 72 percent of which were linked acutely to fentanyl. In 2021, that figure was 640.
CITY HALL, SAN FRANCISCO: A man is seen shooting drugs into his arm. Despite the city's efforts, 2022 saw 620 people die from overdoses in San Francisco - 72 percent of which were linked acutely to fentanyl
Mayor London Breed said at the beginning of the year: 'Fentanyl continues to disrupt and destroy lives in our city and while the overdose numbers have gone down, they still remain far too high.'
San Francisco is trying to curb the drug issues - and this year has vowed to open 70 residential step-down beds to offer recovery-settings for people leaving residential substance use disorder treatment.
In 2022, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which collaborates with SFDPH in its distribution of the medication, distributed more than 40,000 doses of naloxone alone and reported 5,127 reversals.
The city has also geared up more than 2,000 people in the last year - teaching them how to recognize and respond to an overdose, while more than 40,000 doses of naloxone were given out.
And looking forward, San Francisco promises to opena new crisis stabilization unit to provide short-term, urgent care for substance users in 2024.
However across California, existing law only punishes fentanyl possession for purposes of sale with two to four years in county jail, and trafficking suspects can receive up to a nine-year sentence.
SAN FRANCISCO: Tech executive Michelle Tandler, 37, recently revealed her experience seeing 'hundreds' of people on the streets 'folded over' after smoking the fatal drug
SAN FRANCISCO: One man is seen bent over, as a passerby on a e-scooter looks back at him
Last week, police seized rainbow fentanyl from a Portland motel room as part of a major drug trafficking sting. The suspect is believed to be part of a ring responsible for bringing large amounts of the narcotics into Oregon.
During the raid, police found more than two kilograms of rainbow-colored fentanyl packaged and ready to be given to people on the streets - as well as 393 grams of crystal meth and 49 grams of cocaine.
This discovery is feared to be just the tip of the iceberg. Law enforcement is desperately trying to cut off major illicit distributors of the drug trade coming from Mexico.
But despite the breakthroughs in individual cases, despairing police officers in Portland admit they see 'no end in sight'.
PORTLAND: Three men are seen on the sidewalk in Portland, Oregon, surrounded by drug paraphernalia.Law enforcement is desperately trying to cut off major illicit distributors of the drug trade coming from Mexico
PORTLAND: Clutching a pipe to smoke the deadly drug, a man is seen flopped over next to a suitcase and backpack. Cops in Portland have admitted they see 'no end in sight' for the crisis
PORTLAND: A man smokes fentanyl on the street. The deadly drug is typically crushed, then heated on foil with the vapor inhaled through a tube
PORTLAND:Fentanyl, a highly addictive damaging drug, is causing a crisis on the city's streets. Two people are seen slumped over on the street
PORTLAND: A man on his knees smokes fentanyl on the street. The city is littered with tents, partially concealing people doing drugs before curling over in a trance-like state
One major issue in Portland is how accessible the drugs are becoming. People can pay as little as $1 for a fentanyl pill, compared to a year ago, where dealers would charge up to $20.
Pictures show users zombied-out, bent and drooping over themselves in the middle of the day, while others collapse in building entrances surrounded byparaphernalia.
One Portland man, down on his knees, was seen smoking fentanyl as another held the crushed deadly drug inside a heated tinfoil - before inhaling the vapor through a tube.
Sideways in the city are often littered with tents, partially concealing people smoking and injecting drugs, before they curl over in a trance-like state.Clutching a pipe to smoke the deadly drug, another addict was seen flopped over on himself next to a suitcase and backpack.
Lieutenant Christopher Lindsey of Portland Police, who believes the numbers in his city are only going to climb, said last week that there were 156 overdose deaths in 2022 - compared to 135 in 2021 and 80 in 2020.
He told KATU: 'It has gotten massively worse. Just as an example, a year ago when I was in the position a fentanyl pill would go anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars a pill. A year later people are paying one to two dollars a pill.
'I am worried. I am concerned that it could get worse. I'm not saying that it is going to get worse but if you look at the trend it's been getting worse for a few years now and I don't see any end in sight.'
PORTLAND: Tent cities have popped up on the sidewalks in the city, where addicts often sit to take a hit and 'zombie' out in full view of families and children passing by
PORTLAND: Two people are slumped in the doorway of a building.'It has gotten massively worse', says Lieutenant Christopher Lindsey of Portland Police
PORTLAND: One man in a wheelchair slumps.People can pay as little as $1 for a fentanyl pill, compared to a year ago, where dealers would charge up to $20
In response to the fentanyl endemic, the Boston Attorney General's New England Fentanyl Strike Force was launched in 2016 to specifically target the sources of dangerous distribution on Massachusetts streets.
And since its creation, the Strike Force has arrested more than 580 suspects and seized over 439 kilos of heroin and fentanyl.
In December 2022, Luis Sonier Bautista Moreta, 26, admitted to distributing more than 6,000 fentanyl pills and two kilograms of fentanyl after selling the deadly drugs to an undercover cop during a sting in Dorchester, Boston.
The Strike Force's latest success occurred just last week, after agents took down and charged John Vargas Ordonez. He was found with a stash of 522 grams of fentanyl and $20,000 in cash at his home in Andover, Massachusetts.
The crisis, however, is still rampant on the streets.
BOSTON: Two men, one wearing a balaclava, sit on the street while they prepare needles filled with drugs. Narcotics have been running rampant in the city and authorities are struggling to keep a hold on the crisis
BOSTON: A woman crouches on the sidewalk, with used needles and other drugparaphernalia seen scattered on the floor around her. A special taskforce has made a series of large drugs busts, but the epidemic continues
BOSTON: One Massachusetts man prepares his needle with drugs before shooting up on the street
In the South of Boston, close to Suffolk County, users are seen shooting up with needles in plain sight - in parking lots or in their makeshift camps on the sidewalk.
Disheveled users struggle to keep their bodies upright after taking the potentially fatal hit, and ease the blow by perching on plastic boxes.
One Boston man kept his head in his hands as he stuck a needle into his bloodied forearm, all while using an empty wheelchair to keep himself from crashing to the floor, DailyMail.com pictures reveal.
A group of people, sitting on makeshift plastic boxes as seats, were seen smoking and taking drugs behind a police van in the south of Boston, Massachusetts.
On the intersection of Atkinson Street and Southampton Street, local cleanup teams attempted to evict the tent city and shoed the addicts away in a bid to clean the area.
But they sat still with needles still sticking out of their mouths. Some were unable to move because of the devastating and potentially deadly fentanyl high.
BOSTON: One woman sits with two needles pointing out of her mouth in Boston. The Boston Attorney General's New England Fentanyl Strike Force was launched in 2016 to target the sources of dangerous distribution on Massachusetts streets
BOSTON: Gangs of addicts, who litter the streets withdrug paraphernalia, are seen in Boston, near to Suffolk County
BOSTON: One person is seen flopped over, unable to stand after taking drugs on the city's streets
BOSTON: On the intersection of Atkinson Street and Southampton Street, local cleanup teams attempted to evict the tent city and shoed the addicts away
BOSTON: A man holds his head in his hands, while injecting himself with drugs in broad daylight. Scars from nasty gashes cover his bloodied forearm as he closes his eyes
BOSTON: A group of people, sitting on makeshift plastic boxes as seats, smoke and take drugs behind a police van in the south of Boston
New York City
Homelessness and drug abuse is not new in the Big Apple, however in recent months the fentanyl epidemic has seemingly taken over - with people brazenly becoming 'zombies' in daylight.
A group of people were seen on 100th street near Central Park sitting on benches as they smoked the drug.
On the West Coast, a similar picture is painted. Los Angeles' infamous Skid Row, where addicts and drug abusers alike congregated, has been slowly infiltrated with fentanyl.
About a third of the 2,000 homeless deaths in LA between April 2020 and March 2021 were from an overdose.
CENTRAL PARK, NEW YORK CITY: A man is seen smoking fentanyl on a bench near Manhattan's famed Central Park. As with other cities, a series of drugs busts have not been able to stop the destruction
One former addict, Jesse Watters, said about the way Los Angeles officials need to help drug users more: 'People need to be incentivized to get sober.
'And right now they're being incentivized to kind of do whatever they want – do fentanyl in the streets, commit crimes to support their habits – and it's just not going to fix anything.'
In October last year, aDEA task force carried out one of the largest fentanyl busts in New York City's history after around 300,000 rainbow fentanyl pills and 22 pounds of the drug in powdered form - with a combined street value of $9million - were seized from an apartment in the Bronx.
Erickson Lorenzo, 30, and Jefry Rodriguez-Pichardo, 32, were arrested during the bust - and cops allegedly found Rodriguez-Pichardo hanging from a third floor window sill with no fire escape beneath him.
A week earlier,15,000 multi-colored fentanyl pills were discovered hidden in a LEGO box in Manhattan.
Scenes of zombified addicts shooting up or smoking the drug in front of children in NYC parks are increasingly becoming a part of everyday life.
NYC: The US is in the midst of a catastrophic fentanyl epidemic that is causing an eye-watering number of deaths and tearing the fabric of American society apart
Connecticut and New Hampshire
Connecticut's attempts to crack down on its drug problem were evident in September 2022 - when a local was jailed for nearly seven years in New Haven for trafficking hundreds of grams offentanyl.
Federal prosecutors locked upDavid Cintron, 26, who was believed to be selling the toxic drugs across the region. When he was arrested he was found flushing the substance down the toilet, reports CTinsider.
Court documents reveal that one of Cintron's clients would allegedly purchase 700 bags of fentanyl every few days. His trade flooded the state's streets with the illegal drug.
CONNECTICUT, OUTSIDE YALE UNIVERSITY: A woman smokes drugs on a park bench on the green across from the university. The state's attempts to crack down on its drug problem have not managed to slow the misery
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Police officers circle around a woman, collapsed on the steps of a building near the snowy streets of Manchester.New Hampshire has targeted fentanyl and methamphetamine use with a DEA initiative called Operation Engage
NEW HAMPSHIRE: A man, wearing blue gloves, is bent over on the streets of Manchester as a passerby attempts to help him. Overdose deaths in the state continue to rise
Earlier this month, theDEA's New Haven Task Force arrested a man suspected of dealing and distributing fentanyl out of his minivan onElliott Street in New Haven.
Among the quantities of deadlyfentanyl, officers found Derrick Brock, 36, with distributional amounts of crack cocaine which authorities believe he sold to people within the city.
Shocking DailyMail.com images now show drug users smoking fentanyl and snorting other narcotic substances on the green outside Yale University - one of the country's most prestigious education centers.
And near the snowy streets of Manchester, New Hampshire, one woman collapsed on the steps of a building was surrounded by police officers attempting to help her. New Hampshire has targeted fentanyl and methamphetamine use with a DEA initiative called Operation Engage, but overdose deaths continue to rise.
CONNECTICUT, OUTSIDE YALE UNIVERSITY: A man uses drugs, snorting substances in broad daylight on the green across from the prestigious university
NEW HAMPSHIRE:The drug Tranq, an animal sedative mixed with fentanyl, turns users into what some have described as a 'zombie' state. These symptoms could be spotted throughout the streets of Manchester, New Hampshire
New Orleans, Louisiana
In recent years, New Orleans has increasingly struggled with drug use on its streets - with the number of deaths in the city linked to narcotics having increased five-fold since 2015.
In April 2022, figures showed that drug related deaths rose by one third compared to a year prior, according to Coroner Dwight McKenna - who pointed the blame at powerful synthetic fentanyl.
Narcotics killed 492 in the city in 2022, when the same figure seven years earlier was just 92.
Of all overdose deaths in New Orleans between 2021 and 2022, a staggering 94 percent were linked tofentanyl - which is now known for being cut into cocaine and other street pills.
NEW ORLEANS: A woman, sitting inside a tent under the I-10, shoots drugs into her veins on her hand.Of all overdose deaths in the city between 2021 and 2022, a staggering 94 percent were linked to fentanyl
NEW ORLEANS: Used needles are seen thrown across the littered sidewalks of the I-10, while drug-users' gashes on their legs and arms illustrate the acute problem the city is battling
America's fentanyl scourge UNCOVERED
READ MORE:Mailed from China, mixed in Mexico, the strongest opioid yet exploded in the pandemic and now kills a person every seven minutes
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McKenna warned that people using street drugs 'is like playing Russian roulette'.
Harrowing images show individuals passed out on the street, with their bloodied and bruised limbs sprawling on the sidewalk of New Orleans' Bienville Street.
People use underpasses and derelict corners of the city to inject themselves in broad daylight - in the clear sight of passersby.
Used needles are seen thrown across the littered sidewalks of the I-10, while drug-users' gashes on their legs and arms illustrate the acute problem the city is battling.
Issues in the Louisiana city have become so rife that just three months ago, Senator Bill Cassidy urged for a new law to charge drug dealers with federal felony murder if they sell fentanyl to someone who then dies from using it.
In New Orleans, the highly addictive drug is often disguised to look like colorful candy - which has been blasted as a 'very disturbing development' in the plight.
Dr. Robert Sigillito, Chief Deputy Coroner for St. Tammany Parish, said: 'That's a very, very disturbing development we've seen over the last month with the arrest of several individuals crossing the borders that have these bags full, of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of doses of drugs that do, they're colorful, they look like candy.'
'Clearly they are targeting the younger population with these colorful pills.'
Rainbow fentanyl - which are deadly doses but are dressed up to look like Skittles - have become rampant on New Orleans' streets.
Just weeks ago,DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley revealed there were overdoses and drug poisonings being seen in children as young as aged 12.
A tiny ounce on the end of a pencil is enough to kill a person - and the way the drugs are being manufactured now means that a 'casual observer in a nightclub isn't going to be able to tell the difference'.
NEW ORLEANS: A woman does intravenous drugs under I-10 in New Orleans, Louisiana, wherefentanyl is often disguised to look like colorful candy
NEW ORLEANS: A man preps a needle with drugs before injecting himself, in broad daylight, on the streets of the city.Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy urged for a new law to charge drug dealers with federal felony murder if they sell fentanyl to someone who then dies from using it
NEW ORLEANS: A man smokes marijuana from a pipe in the city's French Quarter
Federal drug agents seized enough fentanyl in 2022 to kill every American
US drug agents seized 379million potentially fatal does of fentanyl in 2022 – enough to kill every American.
The Drug Enforcement Administration said it had captured 50.6 million fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl and 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder during the year, calling it the equivalent of 'more than 379 million potentially deadly doses.'
Owing to its low price and relative ease of production, fentanyl has supplanted prescription opioids and heroin in the illegal drugs market.
A potentially fatal dose is just two milligrams.
It was the major reason for the more than 107,000 overdose deaths across the United States from July 2021 to June 2022, according to official data.
The DEA said the deadly man-made opioid, which caused only a fraction of overdose deaths a decade ago, is now the 'deadliest drug threat facing this country.'
'It is a highly addictive man-made opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially deadly dose,' it said.
The DEA's finds were more than double the amount they seized in 2021 – enough to kill all 330 million of those living in the US.