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November 22, 2021: 100,000 People Lost To Drugs Between April 2020 And 2021

Percent Change in Predicted 12 Month-ending Count of Drug Overdose Deaths, by Jurisdiction: April 2020 to April 2021 (Source: CDC)

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics announced that drug deaths in the twelve months ending in April 2021 have increased 28%—to over 100,000 people—over the same period the previous year. The surge in deaths is fueled by fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, which have been found in the entire spectrum of illicit drugs, including counterfeit pills.


In Georgia, Raymond Edward Chatfield received a 55-year prison sentence for trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine. The Houston County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit seized pill presses related to the investigation in November 2018. Law enforcement in Atlanta arrested a U.S. Virgin Islands man who allegedly shipped fentanyl pills from Georgia to St. Thomas.

Two men in Washington, DC were indicted for their alleged fentanyl trafficking. A search of one of their homes led to the seizure of suspected fentanyl, counterfeit OxyContin pills made with fentanyl, cocaine and other drugs. Law enforcement also seized $74,000 in cash, and a number of cell phones.

A Richmond, Kentucky resident was charged with selling counterfeit Percocet pills that killed a woman in August.

Five Bradley County, Tennessee residents were arrested in connection with selling fentanyl, methamphetamine, and counterfeit pills containing fentanyl. Tulsa Police charged a man and his girlfriend with drug distribution after a search of their residences yielded a variety of illicit drugs, including pressed pills made with fentanyl.


Counterfeit pills found in Moorhead, Minnesota (Source: Moorhead Police Department)

The Minnesota State Patrol and Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested two

Moorhead, Minnesota residents and seized 15 small bags of counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl during a traffic stop.

Northeast Miguel Skrl Guillermo-Graseki of Lawrence, Massachusetts received a 45-month federal prison sentence for his role in a drug ring that trafficked fentanyl in pill and powder form.

Worcester, Massachusetts resident Robert Young received a five-year sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute illicit drugs. In 2017, law enforcement seized large quantities of drugs—including fentanyl pills—that Young and a co-conspirator had hidden in the walls of a building in Worcester.

Family members speak at a press conference held by the Orange County District Attorney, November 2021. (Source: KESQ)

Pacific West

The ​​Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department warned residents about illicit drug sales—including the sale of counterfeit pills made with fentanyl—on social media platforms.

Apple Valley, California resident Drina Smith shared the loss of her 20-year-old son, Victor Aguilar, to a counterfeit pain pill on November 5th. The sheriff’s office in Calaveras, California announced an investigation into the death of a 28-year-old man who died in October after taking pain medication that contained fentanyl.

Temecula, California resident Matt Capelouto and others who have lost children continue to work for legislative changes that would increase penalties for drug dealers who sell products that kill people.

Joseph Elijah Cuaron of Sacramento, California will serve five years in federal prison for supplying 1,000 fentanyl pills to men who sold them to an FBI confidential source in July 2020.

Bakersfield resident Uriel Ivan Portillo pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl. Portillo sold 5,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl to undercover agents in November 2019.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department arrested a Coachella woman on suspicion of selling fentanyl pills.

A woman in Sedro-Woolley, Washington was charged with the alleged sale of drugs, including counterfeit pills made with fentanyl that caused illness and a death.

A federal grand jury indicted a Portland, Oregon man who was found with 34,020 counterfeit OxyContin pills during a traffic stop near Fresno, California.

Mountain West

Police in Bismarck, North Dakota arrested a man who had allegedly received packages of fentanyl pills for distribution.

The Colorado Sun published an article about the brutal impact counterfeit drugs have had in Boulder, where the coroner has confirmed 14 fentanyl deaths, including Jack Swanson, who died after taking a counterfeit pill in February.

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