Seized fentanyl sufficient to kill 26M folks, Nebraska police say

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Seized fentanyl sufficient to kill 26M folks, Nebraska police say

The Nebraska State Patrol seized nearly 120 pounds of the drug fentanyl, which is the largest bust in the state's history and one of the largest in the country.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says as little as two milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dosage in most people.

State police say the drugs have a street value worth more than $20 million.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin.

In 2016, 116 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses, according to the CDC.

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts congratulated more than a dozen troopers and civilians with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) for their parts in two major recent drug busts.

A trooper stopped a Freightliner truck-tractor and semitrailer that was driving on the shoulder along the interstate and, during the stop, "became suspicious of criminal activity", Nebraska State Patrol said in a statement. The compartment contained 42 foil-wrapped packages.

The men were arrested for "possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and no Drug Tax stamp", and booked into the Buffalo County Jail, the news release said. Both are residents of New Jersey, according to authorities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fentanyl and its variants killed more than 20,000 Americans previous year, and the number is increasing.

Do the math - as both the Kansas City Star and USA TODAY have done - and you'll find the Nebraska bust included enough fentanyl to kill 26,760,000 people.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Field Operations says it seized 951 pounds of fentanyl in fiscal year 2017, more than double the year prior.

The DEA pins the blame on China and Mexico as the "major source countries" where fentanyl is manufactured in labs before being distributed around the world for illegal use. This means that more drugs need to be taken in order to achieve the same level of pain relief, when taken for medical reasons, or to achieve the same high when used recreationally.

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