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Summary: The basics of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic analog to opium. As a medication, fentanyl is considered 50–100 times stronger than morphine. Patients undergoing difficult surgeries and cancer treatments benefit from its effectiveness. Fentanyl is often compared to oxycodone for pain management, so it is helpful for recognizing how little is required to induce similar effects. Oxycodone doses range 5–60 milligrams (mg) while fentanyl dosages range 15–150 micrograms (mcg). Both dosages are minuscule, but the amount of fentanyl required is almost 1000 times smaller.

The problem started a while back. In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies were given permission to market oxycodone (a timed release opiate) and similar drugs to doctors and patients. Pain was advertised as a disease to treat more than just a symptom. In the following decades, pain-management became a hundred billion dollar industry. To keep the competition alive, companies introduced new formulations of opiates, including fentanyl.

13 million US citizens were addicted to these medications by 2010 and our legislatures began to react. As a result of the body’s natural ability to build tolerance to medication, each person with pain would need more and more medication to achieve the results needed to live their lives. Those addicted went to great lengths to obtain more. This helped create a black market built out of rogue pharmacies, etc. The public finally began to notice the destruction and a campaign to educate and create laws went in to effect.

The black market grew further when much of the 13 million people couldn’t stop taking their medication overnight. Many began to seek out alternatives like heroin to fix their needs. Organized crime assisted in building a greater supply and in 2013 fentanyl became a major player. Much of the initial fentanyl was ordered from legal laboratories in China, India, and elsewhere in Asia. When sanctions by the US government penalized those countries, the Mexican cartels had already invested and so they made deals to produce fentanyl in Mexico while still ordering ingredients from countries in Asia.

Jaime Puerta is a United States Marine Corps Veteran, and the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Puerta & Associates, Inc.; a small Interpreting business that specializes in furnishing Certified Interpreters to Attorneys, Doctors, and Courts working within the Workman’s Compensation field in the State of California. He resides in Santa Clarita, California, with his wife Claudia. Jaime is also the President of V.O.I.D., "Victims Of Illicit Drugs", a California 501C non-profit dedicated to educating parents and children about the dangers of illicit drug use, and also about the dangers that abound on social media platforms. Jaime also sits on the Advisory Board of A.C.C.O. "The Alliance To Counter Crime Online". Jaime became involved in the fight against Fentanyl when his only son Daniel passed away due to Fentanyl Poisoning on April 6, 2020.

Jaime is an avid Harley Davidson enthusiast and rides his motorcycles whenever time permits him to do so.

Steve Filson was raised in Huntington Beach and has been a resident of San Bernardino since 1976 when he relocated there after his service in the U.S. Air Force. He retired in 2009 after a 31-year career with the San Bernardino County Sheriff and San Bernardino Police Department. Steve is the owner of a private security company and is a staff member of the Public Safety Academy, a public charter school in San Bernardino.|

Most importantly, Steve is Jessica’s Dad. Jessica was his 29-year-old daughter killed in Redlands on January 22, 2022, along with her boyfriend, Nicholas, due to fentanyl poisoning. Steve lives in Highland, California, with his wife, Cheri, and their five-year-old granddaughter, Elara. He and other bereaved parents formed V.O.I.D., “Victims of Illicit Drugs,” as a California non-profit corporation and dedicate their efforts to education and awareness of this fentanyl scourge confronting our society.

Rocklin, CA resident Chris Didier lost his 17-year-old son, Zachary Didier, to fentanyl two days after Christmas in 2020. Zach was an Eagle Scout, soccer player, and beloved member of the community who had no history of drug use. Chris Didier has dedicated himself to raising awareness of the dangers of fentanyl, and has no doubt saved the lives of many students like Zach through his efforts. 

During his 22-year military career, Lt. Col. Didier flew the C-21 and F-15E. He currently flies the Boeing 787 for United Airlines.