NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — As we enter full swing into the new year, the DEA’s New Orleans field division has released new data that suggests the amount of fentanyl seized could be enough to wipe out the four different U.S. states the office covers.

According to a press release from the DEA’s New Orleans Field Division, more than 500,000 pills and over 600 pounds of power containing fentanyl were confiscated across the branch’s coverage area, which includes Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

With a fatal dose weighing in at about two milligrams (about 10-15 grains of salt, small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil), the DEA says that’s more than 20.2 million fatal doses of fentanyl seized by the New Orleans office last year — enough for one person in the four states the office covers.

Where is the fentanyl coming from?

According to the DEA, fentanyl is primarily coming from Mexican drug cartels Sinaloa and Jalisco, and is being pressed into pills made to look like real prescription medications, including OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax. The pills usually contain filler power and the lethal fentanyl dose of fentanyl, although sometimes are laced with other drugs as well.

In 2022, the DEA reported testing that revealed four out of 10 pills laced with fentanyl contain deadly doses of the drug — twice what it was in 2021.

The DEA has established a website to track the approximate amounts of fentanyl seized. Click here to view.

Other Drugs Seized in 2022

The more than 500,000 pills and 600 pounds of fentanyl powder seized by the New Orleans DEA division only tell part of the story when it comes to the 2022 data. The office says that nearly 50.6 million laced pills and more than 10,000 pounds of powder were seized nationally in 2022.

Other drugs seized nationally by the DEA in 2022 included about 131,000 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 4,300 pounds of heroin, and 444,000 pounds of cocaine. In Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, that included:

  • 2,685 pounds of methamphetamine
  • 150 pounds of heroin
  • 1,006 pounds of cocaine

View the full news release from the DEA here.