Flemish invention sows death and destruction in San Diego

Flemish invention sows death and destruction in San Diego

World June 30, 2018 20:33

san diego - Richard Summerfruit was clean. Ready for a while with heroin. Until, after a concert visit with his girlfriend in San Diego, he was left alone on the toilet. He was dead not much later. The blue pill that the twenties swallowed is the Percocet known in America or the opioid Oxycodone. But the fatal tablet bought on the street turned out to contain something completely different: fentanyl.

'They fall like flies from the sky,' said Terri Perez, head of Narcotics of the Public Prosecution Service in San Diego County. She does not wipe about it. The southernmost city of California is dragged along on the wave of drug deaths in the US. Help from Mexico does not have to be expected from Perez. There, the population will probably choose a new president on Sunday, July 1, which is just amnesty for makers and sellers of these murder pills.

'Many users have no idea what they get inside,' Perez says in her office in the Hall of Justice. Whether amphetamines, cocaine or heroin. More and more Mexican drug cartels secretly mix the even more powerful opiate fentanyl through it. The results are disastrous. The whole of the US had more than 46,000 overdoses in the year 2017. In San Diego, the number of deaths caused by fentanyl increased from 33 (2016) to 82 (2017).

Originally fentanyl was an invention from the laboratories of the Flemish prodigy and pharma entrepreneur Paul Janssen. With the painkiller, a hundred times more powerful than morphine, doctors have been treating terminal cancer patients since the sixties. But the stuff is dangerous. Where 30 milligrams of heroin is fatal for a human being, this already applies for 2 milligrams of fentanyl. Only a few grains paralyze breathing for good.

The addiction of Summerfruit symbolizes that of millions of Americans. As a teenager, he got heavy painkillers when an accident crushed his foot. After the cure, the boy could not live without it. 'He was seventeen when he said he was using heroin,' his mother tells in the San Diego Union Tribune. Those who no longer get high on prescription, look for the kick on the street. And there one is surrendered to the supply of Mexican cartels.

But why do Mexican drug gangs, the Sinaloa cartel, spread drugs that cost customers their lives? Is it perhaps the revenge of the arrested and delivered Mafia boss El Chapo Guzmán? No, says José María Ramos, safety specialist at COLEF University in Tijuana. He explains the switch to fentanyl as 'a purely business-economic decision. 'There is simply a lot more money to be made.

Drug gangs manufacture fentanyl in laboratories based on raw materials from China. That is much cheaper than the production of heroin. You no longer need farmers, no poppy and no surveillance of fields. And because it is so much stronger than heroin, the stuff can be smuggled in even smaller packages. Perez: 'They recruit teens in secondary schools to get stuck on their bodies across the border. '

On the street in San Diego, however, fentanyl changes drug use into Russian Roulette. Pills and powders look the same as before. But in many cases they are cut with the synthetic opiate. Because the mix is ​​not consistent, many pills carry a fatal dose. Tom Petty, Prince and Dolores O'Riordan from The Cranberries happened. The crisis prompted President Donald Trump to demand the death penalty for drug traffickers.

But precisely in Mexico, where the population is tired of the drug war and the more than two hundred thousand dead, the pendulum swings the other way. On Sunday, the country chooses a new president. Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador is the undisputed favorite. He is averse to violence and wants to bring peace back in one way or another. Among other things through amnesty, although it is unclear how far that forgiveness reaches. In any case, it does not sound like a fanatical hunt for fentanyl laboratories.

In San Diego, prosecutor Perez is looking for his own weapons against the drugs. One way is to treat an overdose as 'murder'. 'If we can prove that a dealer has deliberately provided fentanyl mixed pills to ignorant customers, then it is at least dead by debt,' says Perez. Also Summerfruits' dealer knew very well what he sold. He boasted to a cellmate: 'That shit is dangerous'.

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