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Nearly 400% more fentanyl seized this year, Colorado State Patrol says

CSP said troopers have seized 225 pounds of fentanyl so far in 2022, a sharp increase from the 11 pounds they seized in 2019.

GOLDEN, Colo. — State troopers have seized nearly 400% more fentanyl so far compared to this time last year, Colorado State Patrol (CSP) said during a news conference Wednesday.

Every week, cars that cross Colorado's borders are stopped by state troopers who seize illicit fentanyl made by criminal manufacturers in Mexico and China.

"This is happening, if not daily, it's happening weekly," said CSP Colonel Matthew Packard.

More than 900 Coloradans died due to fentanyl overdoses in 2021, and the state's overdose rate is increasing faster than the national average, according to CSP. Fentanyl seizures have also increased dramatically since 2019, when CSP recovered 11 pounds over the whole year.

"It is now June 1 and we've seen about 225 pounds pounds of fentanyl," Packard said. "We talk about how deadly it is and we're talking about the top of a pin, 225 pounds year to date that Colorado state troopers have taken out of cars being smuggled into Colorado." 

But even he called that amount a "drop in the bucket." 

"The criminal organizations who are making this substance and sending it to Colorado are in this business for one reason, and that's to make money," Packard said. "When I can take off two tons of their product and they're still coming, that should be an indicator that they're still making a lot of money." 

CSP said they are seeing an increasingly higher demand of users seeking fentanyl, and they see the need for public safety and public health to work in tandem. 

"I think it's collaborative law enforcement efforts, it's harm reduction, it's community engagement and it's caring about your neighbor," Packard said. "It's all of those things, the only way we're going to be successful about this"

RELATED: Gov. Jared Polis signs fentanyl bill into law

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