KEARNEY, Neb. – Special Agent in Charge of the Omaha Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Justin King, spoke to members of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA) today at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney to discuss the National and statewide drug trends and their impact on Nebraska communities.
“Overdose deaths are at an all-time high with more than 108,000 people losing their lives to drugs last year,” King said. “We believe it is important to address these topics with school administrators and staff across our state, educating them about current drug threats and providing resources to further educate students in our communities. We want to raise awareness of the dangers of drugs and help students reach their full potential in life without succumbing to addiction and possible overdose.
King’s presentation provided an overview of national drug seizures made in 2021 and detailed how the drug reaches Nebraska communities.
The DEA has seen an increase in fake fentanyl-containing pills both nationally and in Nebraska. Fentanyl is a synthetic substance 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Two milligrams of fentanyl, an amount that can fit on the tip of a pencil, is considered a life-threatening dose. DEA lab tests reveal that four out of 10 fentanyl pills contain a potentially lethal dose. Mexican drug cartels are responsible for the vast majority of illicit fentanyl trafficking in the United States with criminal drug networks in Mexico mass-producing fake prescription pills containing fentanyl using chemicals largely sourced from China.
“We see fentanyl in pill form and we see it mixed in with other drugs like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine,” King said. “Sixty-seven percent of the more than 108,000 overdose deaths last year were attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. That’s why it’s so important that we share this message and provide educational resources that educate the public about the threat to our communities.
King concluded his presentation by answering questions from the audience and introduced three websites, www.DEA.gov/OnePill, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.gov and www.JustThinkTwice.gov as valuable tools for parents, students and districts. school.