I-Team: Investigating drug trends with the DEA

I-Team: Investigating drug trends with the DEA
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 2:26 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The 13abc I-Team hitting the streets with the DEA tracking the latest drugs trends.

They’re issues hitting every community with some potentially deadly consequences. Talking about how dangerous they can be now, could save lives in the future.

The biggest issue on the streets right now is fake pills. Basically, you’re not getting what you think you’re getting. What you are getting could be deadly. 13abc’s I-Team rode along with the DEA on Toledo streets, discussing drug issues. These issues here are the same issues every community sees.

“It doesn’t discriminate on socio-economic grounds. It doesn’t discriminate young and old. It’s hitting everybody,” said resident agent in charge Quinn Auten of the DEA Toledo field office.

Fentanyl is one of the biggest issues on the radar of Auten. It’s deadly, in large supply and highly addictive.

“A drug dealer will look at something like fentanyl and see the absolute slave that it turns somebody into,” said Auten.

Dealers now add fentanyl to what are called “fake pills.” They create a pill looking like a Percocet for example and someone either consumes it or gives it to a friend who takes it. They may be getting a deadly fentanyl dose. This synthetic opioid is cheap and dealers are looking for new customers.

“It appears to be a magic bullet for them to lace their drug with fentanyl as well thinking that somehow this is going to make it more potent. Somehow it’s going to make the high higher,” said Auten.

The dangers of fentanyl are well documented. 50 million pills were taken off the streets last year alone but part of the problem lately is people have no idea they’re getting it. The DEA estimate is that 60% of the pills people get illegally contain fentanyl. Kids, adults, everyone are encouraged to only take pills prescribed by your doctor.

“If someone offers you something, I would not even touch it,” said Auten.

That’s important because fentanyl can get into your system in a number of ways: through skin, mucus membranes, inhalation, ingestion or eating it. According to agent Auten, materials originating from China fuel the drug and it usually arrives from our south.

“Some of the fentanyl coming in is coming in powder form from Mexico but even those we’ve seen cases where those are being pressed into pill form in Ohio using the same techniques as the labs in Mexico use,” said Auten.

Deadly fentanyl can be found anywhere on these streets. The number one thing stopping its spread would be for its customers to stay away.

“This stuff will kill you. So don’t mess with it,” said Auten.

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