Earlier this week, Collin County Sheriff’s Office and North Texas Sheriff’s Criminal Interdiction Unit (NTXCIU) recovered approximately 6,000 fentanyl pills and a handgun during a traffic stop.
The driver, a Dallas resident named Eduardo Reyes, was transported to the Collin County Sheriff’s Office and charged with the manufacture/delivery of a penalty group 1 narcotic greater than 400 grams.
“Last year, well over 100,000 Americans perished from drug overdoses and more than half of those were fatal fentanyl poisonings. These deaths are directly attributable to these Mexican drug cartels,” Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said. “We know that our efforts fighting this scourge will save lives. This seizure illustrates our continuing commitment to use every resource and tactic available to help stem the flow of this deadly poison from entering our communities.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine, and is now the number one cause of overdose deaths in the country.
“Here in Collin County we have seen 571% increase in the number of fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths in the past 36 months,” Skinner said in a press release in September. “In Collin County, we will continue to investigate every one of these fentanyl poisonings to identify the dealers responsible for causing these deaths.”
When nine students in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD overdosed on fentanyl pills distributed from a nearby dealer’s house, an investigation determined that many of the teens purchased the pills from other students as young as 13. At least one student that overdosed had purchased “M30,” a pill made to imitate oxycodone that is often laced with fentanyl.
Fentanyl is especially dangerous as its potency can cause overdoses at much smaller amounts than other drugs like heroin.
Last week, Plano police officer Chris Bianez discussed the fentanyl drug crisis on the Plano Police True Crimes Podcast with John-Mark Meulman, program administrator for the Collin County Substance Abuse Program.
Meulman discussed an uptick in fentanyl overdoses tracked through the medical examiners office, with fentanyl being the cause of 29% of drug overdoses in 2020, 49% in 2021 and 55% in 2022.
“Drug dealers are using fentanyl to cut all drugs, anything that is made synthetically” Meulman said. “And the reason for that is pure economics. It’s a cheap drug to manufacture and it’s so potent.”
Meulman cited a DEA statistic that found that 42% of confiscated pills were laced with fentanyl.
“Just 2,000 micrograms can be a lethal dose,” Meulman said. “Just to put that into perspective for you, that would fit on the head of a penny.”
The program has seen a particular uptick in juvenile cases, including one where a McKinney teen tried marijuana for the first time in a school bathroom that was unknowingly laced with fentanyl. Though she survived, had to be taken to the emergency room.
“It’s like playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun because of the lethality of this drug. You just may not get a second chance,” he said.
Meulman encourages parents to be proactive in talking to their kids about drugs, be aware of what their child is doing on social media and to utilize the program’s free adolescent substance abuse evaluations.
“Don’t suffer in silence. Let somebody know,” he said. “The tragedy in all of this – both substance abuse and mental health disorders – is that treatment is readily available. All of this stuff can be helped, so it [substance abuse] is just not worth it. The stakes are too high.”
The Collin County Substance Abuse Program provides free evaluation and referral services to adolescents and can help find programs and assistance for adolescents and adults regardless of income or insurance. Those interested can contact the program at 972-548-5570. Lifepatch Systems, the behavioral health authority for Collin County, provides free walk-in substance abuse evaluations as well.