DEA: Large increase in fentanyl, meth seized in NY since onset of pandemic
The pandemic may be to blame for a surge in a dangerous and deadly drug on Long Island.
The Drug Enforcement Administration says there has been a 214% increase in methamphetamine and 59% rise in fentanyl seized in New York since the pandemic began.
Officials say Long Island has also become a market for fentanyl traffickers.
"I think a lot of what is fueling this is the desperation - so you're suddenly willing to buy heroin from someone you don't know, you're suddenly willing to try meth because you don't have anything else to turn to and the drug supply has been restricted. And also, people have fewer resources," says Dr. Jeffery Reynolds, of the Family and Children's Association. "So people are willing to put anything into their bodies right now in order to escape the everyday realities of life."
Reynolds says since the pandemic, both Nassau and Suffolk police have seen about a 40% increase in fatal overdoses.
Ryan Redican says he knows all too well the struggles of drug addiction. The 35-year-old started using at just 14 years old. He's now in recovery, but isn't surprised by the rise in drug abuse during the pandemic.
"Mental health is a major issue right now and drugs are just one of the best escapes for that," says Redican.
Redican has been going to THRIVE in Hauppauge to stay on his recovery path. There are also virtual meetings for those who need help.
"The longer you wait, the harder it is to treat these kinds of things," says Reynolds. "The sooner you act, the sooner you find that path to recovery. The sooner you get some relief."
The DEA says fentanyl and methamphetamine are mass produced by Mexican cartels. They say since the pandemic, traffickers have packed the drugs within ordinary products like baby wipe containers to conceal it when shipping to places like New York.