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  • [music]

  • NARRATOR: Fentanyl was first created in Belgium in 1960.

  • [music]

  • NARRATOR: It was designed for use in surgery

  • and to treat the most severe forms of pain.

  • Over time, American pharmaceutical companies

  • found a profitable way to market related opioid medications

  • outside hospital settings.

  • Since I've been on this new pain medication

  • I have not missed one day of work,

  • and my boss really appreciates it.

  • NARRATOR: Prescription surged, and patients

  • were reassured that the risk of addiction was low.

  • Less than 1% of patients taking opioids actually

  • become addicted.

  • NARRATOR: They were very wrong.

  • As fatal overdoses skyrocketed, doctors made prescription

  • opioids harder to get.

  • Addicts turned to heroin, and the crisis got worse.

  • Then in 2015, fentanyl emerged on the black market

  • in a big way.

  • Potent, cheap, and readily available on the streets

  • without a prescription.

  • In the US, overdose rates exploded to record highs.

  • But here in Mexico, fentanyl became a boon

  • to the underworld economy.


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