Seizures of the painkiller Fentanyl in Orange County doubled last year compared with the previous year, sheriff's officials reported Wednesday.
Last year, the Orange County Sheriff's Department seized 44 pounds of the synthetic opioid, compared with 22 pounds in 2017 and 0.2 pounds in 2016.
There were no seizures of the drug in Orange County in 2015. Last year, sheriff's deputies also seized 72 pounds of heroin, 451 pounds of cocaine and 1,420 pounds of methamphetamine. Sheriff's officials warned that Fentanyl, which is usually prescribed for severe pain, can be more potent than morphine and also more deadly.
The trend of illicit sales of the opioid began in 2017 in Orange County. Sheriff's officials warned that a fatal overdose of Fentanyl can happen at just 2 milligrams. A sugar packet of the drug could contain 500 lethal doses, they say.
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The 44 pounds seized last year was enough to cause overdoses of everyone in Orange County three times over, according to the sheriff's department.
"These drug seizures will have an impact at the street level," said Sheriff Don Barnes. "When we couple enforcement with education, we will see reductions in drug activity across Orange County. Less drugs and less drug users will translate to lower crime rates, keeping us all safer."