NEW YORK (WABC) -- Federal agents have seized a record amount of fentanyl in New York City over the past year -- enough doses to kill everyone in the state three times over.
While seizures of the drug have increased, so have overdoses. Officials say 2,300 people have died of a fentanyl related overdose in the last year in the New York City area alone.
"One pill can kill," said Frank Tarentino III, DEA Special Agent in Charge NY Division.
The DEA said it is seizing everything from packages full of pure fentanyl to bags full of pills laced with fentanyl. Dealers are hiding them in everything from diaper boxes to dog toys.
They seized close to 2 million pills last year and close to 2,000 pounds of fentanyl. It's being laced inside drugs from pills to marijuana.
"They are intentionally lacing these counterfeit prescription pills with fentanyl to drive addiction, to create a greater customer base, to increase addition, and to increase their profit margins," said Special Agent Tarentino. Most of the drugs coming into New York City are from two Mexican drug cartels.
Fentanyl is a manmade synthetic opioid. It's cheaper to make, highly addictive, and a small amount can be deadly.
"They do not care about the deaths at all, they have absolutely no consideration for human life," said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan regarding the dealers lacing the drugs with fentanyl.
"Every three hours, someone in our city is dying of an overdose," said Brennan.
Now, there's a new concern. The dealers are creating colorful fentanyl pills, geared toward a younger generation of users.
"It's absolutely outrageous to put those kind of happy colors and try to entice it has got to be marketed to young children or young people," said Brennan.
The DEA and Special Narcotics Prosecutor have a message for everyone - there's no longer any such thing as safe experimentation of drugs.
"It's not OK to use because the risks are too high and the dangers too great," said Tarentino.
SHARE YOUR STORY
Do you have an issue with a company that you haven't been able to resolve? If so, 7 On Your Side wants to help you!
Fill out the form below or email your questions, issues, or story ideas by filling out the form below or by emailing 7OnYourSideNina@abc.com. All emails MUST INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND CELLPHONE NUMBER. Without a phone number, 7 On Your Side will not be able to respond.
You can also contact Dan Krauth directly:
Email your questions, issues, or story ideas to 7OnYourSideDan@abc.com
Twitter: @ DanKrauthABC7