Drug Enforcement Administration Issues First Public Safety Alert in over Half a Decade After Surges in Illicit Fentanyl

Fentanyl

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a Public Safety Alert Monday warning of the surge in illegal fake painkillers combined with illicit fentanyl or methamphetamine.

The Public Safety Alert, the first warning in six years, highlighted the surge in fentanyl and methamphetamine-laced pills mass produced by criminal drug groups, which are killing Americans at a historic rate, according to a DEA press release.

“The United States is facing an unprecedented crisis of overdose deaths fueled by illegally manufactured fentanyl and methamphetamine,” Anne Milgram, administrator of the DEA, said in the press release.

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TikTok Promotes Sexual Content, Drugs and Alcohol to Children, Investigation Finds

Video sharing platform TikTok promotes sexual content to underage users through its suggestion algorithm, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal.

Investigators for The Wall Street Journal set up 31 fake TikTok accounts registered to users between the ages of 13 and 15 and studied their “For You” feeds, which consist of videos recommended to users by TikTok’s suggestion algorithm.

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The Border Crisis Is Killing Americans, Data Shows

The drugs flowing over the border are leading to an uptick in fentanyl deaths, and experts are split about how to solve it.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has called fentanyl the “primary driver” of the record 92,183 drug overdose deaths in 2020. Many drug dealers use fentanyl to make money and smuggle it through the southern border mixed with other drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine to make them more potent — and more deadly — according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

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Michigan Could Get $800 Million from Opioid Settlement

Close up of white pills

Michigan could receive $800 million under a proposed multibillion-dollar national opioid settlement, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

The settlement would involve Johnson & Johnson and the three largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country: Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen.

The historic agreement would resolve the claims of state and local governments nationwide and require industry changes.

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FDA Asks for Internal Review of Approval Process for Alzheimer’s Drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking for an internal review of its own approval process that gave a greenlight to a drug to treat Alzhiemer’s, a move that could shed more light on the controversial chain of decision-making that led to the drug’s being okayed for use.

The FDA last month approved drug company BioGen’s product Aduhelm, the first medicine greenlit in the U.S. to slow the cognitive decline of those living with Alzhiemer’s.

Yet that decision was shrouded in controversy: The approval went against the advice of an outside panel of FDA experts and even led to the resignation of several of those experts in protest.

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More Lethal Fentanyl Found Along the Southern Border this Year Than Last

Federal authorities have seized significantly more fentanyl along the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona and California since October than they did in the entire 2020 fiscal year.

Since October, authorities have seized 7.000 pounds of the drug, compared to just 4,500 pounds in the entire last fiscal year, according to data from Customs and Boarder Protection. The reasoning, according to authorities, is simply supply and demand.

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Over $14 Million Worth of Drugs, Firearms and a Man Wanted for Murder Detained by Border Officials in February

Around $14.3 million worth of narcotics and several weapons have been seized since the start of February at an Arizona port where officials also arrested a man wanted for murder, Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday.

Officials seized 440 pounds of methamphetamine, 385,000 tablets of fentanyl, 84 pounds of heroin and almost 13 pounds of cocaine in around 25 instances since Feb. 1, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). A 28-year-old man wanted for murder in Las Vegas was arrested while in possession of an AR-15 assault rifle, a handgun and over 300 rounds of ammunition.

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Drug Companies Could Get Millions in Tax Refunds for Opioid Settlement Costs

Pharmaceutical companies are planning to deduct restitution payments from opioid lawsuit settlements from their tax filings and will get back around $1 billion each, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health paid around $26 billion for their role in the opioid crisis and plan to receive tax benefits from the settlement, The Post reported. The settlement requires the companies to each pay between $5 and $8 billion to communities for the cost of the health crisis.

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Border Patrol Seized 470,000 Pounds of Drugs in 2020 Using New Screening Tech

Customs and Border Protection seized nearly half a million pounds of illegal narcotics at the border in 2020 using new screening technology, agency officials announced Thursday.

Over half of the narcotics found last year, or around 470,000 pounds, were discovered through so-called non-intrusive inspection technology, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The agency seized a total of 808,522 pounds of illegal narcotics in 2020.

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133 Illegal Immigrants and Nearly $48 Million Worth of Drugs Seized at Texas Border in 5 Days, CBP Reports Show

Customs and Border Protection arrested 133 illegal immigrants and seized roughly 7,630 pounds of narcotics were seized at the border between Texas and Mexico over five days, according to the agency.

Authorities intervened in drug smuggling, human smuggling and trafficking and illegal crossing attempts, and recovered around $47,863,472 worth of narcotics, according to 15 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports between Aug. 25 and Aug. 28.

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Commentary: Lowering the Cost of Prescription Medicines for Seniors Is Not Impossible

Earlier this year James Payne, a 73-year-old retired attorney in Utah, was so fed up with the high cost of a blood thinner medication he takes, he researched prices in Canada, where he found it was cheaper.

“Under Medicare, I am now paying $225 for a three-month supply,” Payne explained. “That’s $25 more than I was paying last year. Under my employer’s insurance I was only paying $20.” Payne says he is not sure why the costs are so much higher and continue to climb under Medicare, but he thinks there must be ways to make life-saving medications more affordable.

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Border Agents Arrest Two Illegal Immigrants Traveling with $16,000 Cash, Guns and Ammo

A makeshift wooden vessel carrying two men from the Dominican Republic was spotted and intercepted three miles off the coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents Thursday morning.

The men were traveling in a “yola” type vessel with a “significant amount of weapons and ammo,” a CBP spokesman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Two men were arrested and the vessel was seized.

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Opioid Overdoses Rise in State During Coronavirus Pandemic

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reporting significant increases in opioid overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

MDHHS reported emergency medical services (EMS) in the state responded to a 33 percent increase in opioid overdoses from April to May of this year. The department adds that opioid overdoses increased by 26 percent from the prior year during the period between April and June. 

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