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Exclusive: DEA agent breaks down rising fentanyl crisis taking place in NYC

Fentanyl has been found responsible for over 80% of overdose deaths in New York City in the past year. According to the city’s Health Department, that’s 10% higher than the national average.

Heather Fordham and Adolfo Carrion

Oct 12, 2023, 2:25 AM

Updated 281 days ago

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The fentanyl crisis has continued to cause concern for law enforcement in New York City.  
The spotlight on the crisis has been emphasized by the recent death of 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici, who died due to fentanyl exposure at a day care center in Kingsbridge. 
The recent incident, combined with a pill mill drug bust that took place on Oct. 5, is making New Yorkers increasingly more aware just how close to home the drug is.  
“The fentanyl we are seizing is deadlier than it’s ever been before,” said Frank A. Tarentino, special agent in charge of New York for the Drug Enforcement Agency. “When we look at the Bronx, the Bronx is ground zero.” 
Tarentino says that the access to major interstate highways is what makes the Bronx a destination for traffickers. Within the last month, agents have stopped three different fentanyl operations in the borough. He says that while there are no ties found yet between those three incidents, they all are tied to the cartels.  
The DEA agent says cartels are getting chemicals from China to create the synthetic opioid fentanyl, and traffickers bring it across borders and up to hubs like the Bronx. 
Fentanyl has been found responsible for over 80% of overdose deaths in New York City in the past year. According to the city’s health department, that’s 10% higher than the national average.  
The DEA says that 7 out of every 10 pills have become lethal doses in the last year.  
“Teb to 20 grains of salt on your kitchen table, what can fit on the tip of a pencil… it’s so lethal and so addicting that the cartels have harnessed this as a weapon,” said Tarentino, who says that Narcan is a lifesaving tool.  
Next month on Nov. 2, the DEA will hold its annual family summit that will provide people with tools and resources to protect themselves from the deadly drug.  


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