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By Miriam Raftery
Photo: 2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose for most people (via the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency)
August 6, 2020 (Ramona) – Over 31,000 Americans died in 2018 of overdoses of synthetic opioids including fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin o morphine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports. The victims include a 33-year-old Ramona woman who died July 9, 2018 after buying illegal fentanyl from Michael Steen, 27. 
Yesterday in federal court, Judge Gonzalo Curiel sentenced Steen to 12 years in prison after he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute over 500 grams of Fentanyl—including the deadly dose that killed the Ramona woman.

“If you are selling fentanyl, beware: as today’s sentence reflects, you will be held fully accountable for the death and destruction you selfishly cause,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer in San Diego.

Most overdoses and deaths from fentanyl include illegal products, not prescriptions. Some buyers don’t know that they are getting fentanyl, which is sometimes laced into cocaine, heroin or other drugs.  
Brewer says that the current fentanyl crisis that requires an “all in” response by law enforcement, adding, “My office is collaborating with partners at every level to seize fentanyl at the border, build cases against cartels and street distributors, and pursue death charges against dealers of this deadly poison.”
Just 2 or 3 milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal.  A grain of sand, by contrast, weighs 11 milligrams. 
U.S. Attorney Brewer praised prosecutor David Finn as well as the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and DEA agents for their hard work on the case.
For those who suffer from addiction, please know there is help. Call the Crisis line at 888-724-7240; it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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