Are Poppies All Pooped Out? –  

September 1, 2019 – But the pill was actually a far more powerful and more addictive opioid: fentanyl.  Within weeks, Parker was crushing and freebasing up to eight pills a day.  Developed decades ago as a painkiller of last resort, fentanyl has surpassed heroin and prescription pills to become the leading driver of the opioid crisis and is now the top cause of U.S. overdose deaths.  While heroin is made from poppy plants that grow only in specific climates and take months to cultivate, fentanyl and other so-called synthetics are cooked from chemicals in makeshift laboratories in a matter of hours.  U.S. border agents have been intercepting increasing amounts of fentanyl. In January, they reported their largest seizure ever: 254 pounds of powder and pills hidden in a truck carrying cucumbers into Nogales, Ariz.  In May, 43-year-old Pacheco harvested opium gum on his family’s plot of land for the final time. He replaced his pale pink poppy plants with corn.  A local heroin laboratory now sits abandoned.  When Pacheco asks the opium buyers what happened, they all say the same thing: “The synthetics collapsed everything.”

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