Drug use, withdrawal symptoms and overdose deaths all hit record highs in New York City. Experts say the surge occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dealers began using social media to sell drugs, making purchasing much easier. News10 ABC.
“We are seeing drug cartels really exploiting COVID and promoting themselves in new markets,” said Ray Donovan, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent in charge of the New York City division. - As soon as the pandemic hit New York, cartels began to accumulate stocks. They started producing a lot more drugs. As soon as the state and city began to open, they flooded New York with drugs. "
From January 1 to July 11, 2021, DEA agents seized 806 kilograms of fentanyl, up from 240 kilograms in the same period last year. The growth was 236%. The amount of methamphetamine seized is 326% higher than in the same period last year. The DEA reports that 2 kilograms of methamphetamine were seized this year, up from 939 kilograms in the same period last year.
Unfortunately, overdose deaths are also on the rise in all five boroughs of New York. Moreover, 75% of deaths are associated with fentanyl.
Social media replaced dark alleys
According to Donovan, the number of drugs seized is growing. At the same time, the number of seized weapons on the streets of New York and cases of violence related to the distribution of drugs is also growing. Most worrisome, however, is that social media is replacing dark alleyways and the age of drug users is getting smaller.
Cartels are using social media to sell deadly fentanyl pills.
“People go to chat and order fentanyl pills or go to social media and the pills are delivered to their doorstep,” Donovan said. And all this happens not on the dark web, but on the most common social networks.
“It all happens on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook messenger. Young drug dealers use technology to promote their goods and deliver drugs to children, ”Donovan said.
The agents said they cooperate with all law enforcement agencies. Including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the NYPD. They also strive to cooperate with the population.
You can report drug activity anonymously at any time at DEA.gov.