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September 4, 2021

Synthetic Drug Surge in NYC

New Risks for Users for Drug Users

Laboratory-made substances are thoroughly saturating the drug supply in the U.S., posing new risks for users. The DEA reported intercepting an alarming amount of both methamphetamine and fentanyl in 2020. Seizures of methamphetamine, a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system, skyrocketed by 214% over 2019. Meanwhile, DEA recovered 59% more deadly fentanyl. A highly potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl is frequently mixed with other substances like meth, heroin, and cocaine. These dangerously potent substances are mass-produced in clandestine laboratories by Mexican cartels and are top contributors to overdose deaths. The increased presence of these narcotics is reflected in NYC street drugs.

Methamphetamine in NYC

DEA New York Division issued a warning about a surge in both fentanyl and methamphetamine related to COVID-19. Mexican cartels stockpiled both drugs during the lockdown, and transported unprecedented amounts into the United States after border reopening. New York has not had a major methamphetamine market in the past, but the rise in seizures indicates a concerted push into the Northeast.  Investigations reveal myriad strategies employed by drug traffickers to transport methamphetamine, including concealing it within ordinary products. Drugs are packed inside baby wipe containers or toys and sent via parcel delivery, hidden amidst shipments of produce and other food in tractor-trailers, and transported in secret compartments inside vehicles. 

Beware of Counterfeit Pills

Cartels and dealers, in an attempt to profit off a younger market, have also been pressing methamphetamine into pills that look like real Rx medication such as Ritalin and Adderall. These prescription drugs are commonly used to help young people suffering from ADHD. The DEA states that these counterfeit pills, which look identical to real prescription drugs, are increasingly being sold on the streets. The common usage of Adderall and Ritalin among young adolescents, who are unaware of the inauthenticity of pills sold on the street, could fuel widespread addiction to the highly destructive stimulant or possibly increase overdoses.

Surging seizures of methamphetamine and fentanyl are continuing in 2021. The Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office is committed to spreading awareness about the potentially deadly consequences using synthetic drugs and to prosecuting high-level traffickers to stem the flow of lethal narcotics into New York City.