DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is continuing its fight to get deadly drugs off the street.

In 2022, the DEA seized 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl. DEA lab testing also found six out of 10 fake prescription pills contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. That number was four out of 10 pills in 2021.

Fentanyl is highly addictive. It is 50 times more potent than heroin and it only takes two milligrams to be deadly. Steven Lucas is the Resident Agent in Charge at the Dayton DEA Resident Office. He and his team have been busy this year.

“Dayton is a hub sometimes or has been a hub for even Columbus or Cincinnati, where shipments of drugs have come and then moved out. So it is a significant area in terms of how much drugs flow in and the amount of end users,” Lucas said.

Lucas said the product is coming from cartels in Mexico, predominantly the Sinaloa and the CJNG cartels. They are getting chemicals to make the drugs from China. The product is then being moved across the U.S. by trucks or through the mail.

“Right now, there’s a current trend. We’re seeing a lot of parcel packages either FedEx, UPS and or U.S. Postal once it’s usually in the U.S., if they get it across the border,” Lucas explained.

The DEA tries to take out the highest level traffickers and works to connect them back to the cartels. While Lucas believes they are making progress, he said work also has to be done to help those turning to drugs in the first place.

“I think that’s the challenge is, the DEA recognizes that as good a job as we do of seizing a lot of drugs and arresting a lot of people and organizations, more importantly, we need our citizens to not become addicts,” Lucas said.

Lucas said they partner with organizations within the community to teach people about the dangers of these drugs.

“There’s the organization, East End Community Services. There’s Conversation for Change. There’s the Grow operation of the county. We partner up and myself, we went and walked for Grow, and it’s basically in a neighborhood that’s had a high concentration of overdoses,” Lucas said.

The hope is to help people from turning to drugs in the first place.

“They’re trying as much as possible, anybody that’s got an addiction or that’s using drugs, to get them into a place where we can get them clean, maybe get them on the right track,” Lucas said.

Lucas also said they partner with other law enforcement agencies, like the Dayton Police Department, to create task forces, which helps them catch even more drug traffickers.