Government looks to $65 million opioid detection equipment to stop drugs at the border

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WASHINGTON (Circa) - The battle against the opioid epidemic in this country has been brutal.

But there’s a new weapon now in use to try to prevent one of the deadliest types of drugs, fentanyl, from getting smuggled into the country in the first place.

In Ohio an overdose resulting in death happens frequently.

Sponsors of the bipartisan interdict act, now a law, said they’re hoping $65 million for opioid detection equipment and support for customs and border protection will change the course of what’s been a devastating cycle in this country.

“We have the equipment the technology to detect fentanyl and carfentanil - we just don’t have enough equipment at the borders to do that,” Senator Sherrod Brown, D- Ohio, said.

Officials can use the technology, specifically lasers, to look through containers and analyze what’s inside.

You would simply hold the sample against the end unit and touch the scan buttons.

Nancy Otto, a sales manager for Rigaku Corporation, the company that sells the device, said this technology helps officials to not to have to touch the sample a much.

“Right now with the opioid crisis it’s a threat just to handle the material or to inhale the material, so it’s vitally important not to have to touch the sample, in order to analyze it,” Otto said.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration believes most illegal fentanyl in this country comes from china, but is often shipped first to Mexico or Canada before crossing the border.

Looking at fentanyl and synthetic opioids alone, the number of overdose deaths went from just over 3000 in 2013 to 20,000 in 2016. That’s a 540 percent increase...and those numbers have likely risen.

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