Officials announce major milestone to stop fentanyl, other opiates from entering U.S.

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WASHINGTON – Deputy Attorney  General Rod J. Rosenstein and other law enforcement officials announced a major milestone to stop deadly fentanyl and other opiate substances from entering the United States.

Newly released data from the Drug Enforcement Administration shows the United States is seeing a dramatic increase in drugs containing fentanyl.

The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS), a program of the DEA, points to a drastic surge of lab submissions that tested positive for fentanyl — going from 15,209 in 2015 to 31,700 in 2016.

In addition, lab testing of fentanyl analogues — drugs with close structural resemblance and similar effects to fentanyl — went from 2,230 in 2015 to 4,782 in 2016.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid typically prescribed to treat patients with severe pain, is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine, according to the NFLIS.