SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Rocky Mountain Division announced it had seized a record number of fentanyl in 2022.

According to the division, 5.8 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl were seized in 2022. The division said it had seized nearly two million fentanyl pills and more than 150 pounds of fentanyl powder last year. This is a drastic increase to the just over 619,000 fentanyl pills reportedly seized by the division in 2021.

The DEA Rocky Mountain Division covers the states of Utah, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.

“For the first time in my 31-year law enforcement career, we are seeing an oversaturated drug market. Anyone, including our kids, can buy dangerous and deadly drugs at the click of a button,” said Special Agent in Charge Brian Besser of the Rocky Mountain Division. “This is like nothing we’ve experienced before and it makes our jobs as narcotics officers far more challenging and critical than ever before.”

The DEA previously announced it had seized 50.6 million fentanyl pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl power nationwide. It is estimated that these seizures represented more than 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl, which the DEA says equates to enough fentanyl to kill every American.

According to the DEA, fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat in the United States. Fentanyl is a man-made opioid that is reportedly 50 times more potent than heroin and is highly addictive.

In 2021, the DEA issues a Public Safety Alert on the widespread drug trafficking of fentanyl made to look identical to real prescription medications such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax. Testing by DEA labs reportedly revealed four out of 10 pills tested contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, which could be as little as two milligrams – about the amount that could fit on the tip of a pencil.

“We are geographically at the crossroads of the west, and this quite literally places the Rocky Mountain Division on the front lines in the fight to save lives,” said Besser. “You have my pledge that we will continue to do everything within our ability to keep this poison from reaching your communities.”

The DEA reminded Americans that legitimate pharmaceutical pills can’t be bought through social media, saying the only safe medications are ones prescribed directly by a trusted medical professional and filled by a licensed pharmacist.

More information about fentanyl can be found online at the DEA’s website.