Authorities in Ohio recently seized enough of the synthetic painkiller fentanyl through two drug busts to wipe out the “entire population” of the state.
Police initially discovered 4.5 pounds of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, during an October raid in Columbus, Ohio, of an area drug ring. That haul is enough to kill the city of Columbus, that has a population of roughly 800,000, reports Fox News.
Authorities seized an addition 20 pounds of pure fentanyl, enough to decimate the entire state, in a November bust of the drug ring. It takes only two to three milligrams of fentanyl to cause a fatal overdose. (RELATED: Fentanyl Bust Enough To Wipe Out NYC, NJ Combined)
“So it would probably be enough to kill all, the entire population in the state of Ohio,” Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told Fox News. “Two or three milligrams of fentanyl is not much more than five or six small grains of salt.”
The opioid epidemic is particularly dire in Ohio, where more than 2,000 people are estimated to have died from a fentanyl related overdose in 2017. The opioid death rate in the state spiked 13 percent between 2014 and 2015, among the largest increases in the country.
“We’ve tried to curtail the supply of prescription opioids but that has led users to move to illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl,” Michael Betz, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Sciences at Ohio State University, told Fox News. “How do you stop illegal supplies of illicit drugs? I’m not sure we have many good answers to that right now.”
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50.
The addiction epidemic in America will continue to deteriorate, pushing drug deaths to an estimated 71,600 in 2017, predicts data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse released Sept. 7. If the estimates prove accurate, 2017 will be the second year in a row that drug deaths surpass U.S. casualties from the Vietnam War.
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