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Report: Fentanyl Is Putting CBP Agents at Risk

CBP has enough fentanyl to kill roughly 794M people
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2019 11:00 AM CDT
Customs and Border Protection agents monitor cars, left, and pedestrians enter the US through a walkway, at the Puerta Mexico international bridge in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, Mexico, Friday, June...   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
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(Newser) – Fentanyl is pouring into America, and that's putting border officers at risk. Homeland Security released a report Friday saying border agents are seizing and storing more of the dangerous drug but aren't receiving proper protection, ABC News reports. With US Customs and Border Protection grabbing enough fentanyl in the last 12 months to kill roughly 794 million people, inspectors found that some CBP agents handling the drug don't have access to naloxone—otherwise known as Narcan—which acts as an antidote. Others keep Narcan in locked boxes but didn't recall the code. "With the recent rise in fentanyl seizures, CBP staff now routinely handle fentanyl more than ever," says the report.

Customs and Border Patrol is "unnecessarily jeopardizing the lives, health, and safety of its staff," it adds. And the agency agreed, saying in a letter that its fentanyl-storing vaults will include Narcan kits by September and agents will get proper training. CBP added that 4,500 of its officers have already learned to spot an overdose and have taken 3,300 Narcan kits into the field. Fentanyl—which can be in liquid, tablet, or powder form and combined with other drugs—can harm or kill a person who simply touches or accidentally inhales it; that puts canine units "particularly at risk," the report notes. Most US fentanyl used to come from China, but Fox 11 quotes an official saying that the prime source of entry is the southwestern border. (A doctor allegedly prescribed too much fentanyl and killed 25 people.)

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