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Tens of thousands of illegal fentanyl pills were seized during a traffic stop in Northern California that led to an arrest of a Los Angeles woman this week.
San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputies performed a traffic stop with a K9 on Wednesday around 3 p.m., the sheriff’s office said. They stopped a vehicle in the area of Highway 99 and Main Street in Ripon for expired registration and tailgating.
K9 Rango alerted the deputies of narcotics in the vehicle and that’s when 15 to 20,000 fentanyl “M30” pills were found, the sheriff’s office said. The dangerous synthetic opioid was hidden inside hair gel containers.
Abril Campos, 32, was arrested and booked for the possession of narcotics for sale. She also received a citation for expired registration and tailgating, according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office warned that the pills found were both the blue-colored ones and the “rainbow” fentanyl showing up recently across the country.
“Testing has indicated that the “rainbow” pills may be more potent, and present a higher risk of overdose,” the sheriff’s office said.
Video below: DA’s office raises red flag for rainbow fentanyl risk for young children
Rainbow fentanyl has been used to lure minors on social media like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, according to officials. In September, the California Department of Public Health released a warning about rainbow fentanyl, urging school districts to take action against the increasing rates of youth overdoses.
| Read More | Sacramento officials announce ‘significant seizure’ in rainbow fentanyl
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but about 100 times more potent, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. However, most times illicit fentanyl is also mixed with other illicit drugs like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine to increase its potency.
The DEA said two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on how big a person is.
“One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people,” the DEA said on its website.
| Busting Fentanyl Myths | Can fentanyl be absorbed through your skin? UC Davis doctor busts myths surrounding the drug Learn more in the video below.
New data from the California Department of Public Health show that fentanyl-related deaths have increased exponentially over the last 10 years — and have more than tripled since only 2019.
The increase is so significant, that in 2012, data show that 82 fentanyl-related deaths were reported to the department. By 2019, the number grew to 1,603 — before exploding to 5,722 in 2021.
CDPH told KCRA 3 that part of the reason behind the increase is the drug’s availability.
“The primary reason for the rapid increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths in California is that fentanyl has become more available in the drug supply in our state,” officials with CDPH said.
| DATA BELOW | Scroll through the interactive map below to see where the most fentanyl-related deaths are happening in California, along with the spike in deaths since 2012.
| Learn More | ‘We’re taking every step possible’: Sacramento City Unified bringing Narcan to district campuses as rainbow fentanyl increases overdoses
–KCRA 3’s Hilda Flores contributed to this report.
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