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’16 Forever’: How America’s youth succumb to fentanyl – News

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Makayla looked beautiful when she went to her room one January night after watching the Harry Potter movie. But when her mother, Shannon, entered the room the next morning, she found the young woman partially seated, leaning against the head of the bed, an orange liquid oozing from her nose and mouth.

“She was tense. I shook her, gave her name and called 911. [o equivalente ao 112 em Portugal]”, – Shannon Doyle, 41, tells AFP from her home in Virginia Beach. “My neighbors came here and we did cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but it was too late. I don’t remember much after that.”

The opioid crisis in the United States has reached catastrophic proportions, with more than 80,000 people dying of overdoses last year, mostly caused by illegal synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

This number is seven times higher than ten years ago.

“This is the most dangerous epidemic we have ever seen,” says Ray Donovan, director of operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration. “Fentanyl is unlike other illicit drugs, it is instantly lethal,” he notes.

Mortality is rising particularly rapidly among young people who purchase drugs on social media with fake prescriptions. What they buy is mixed with or made from fentanyl.

In 2019, 493 teenagers died from overdoses. In 2021, there were 1146.

Drugs and emoticons

Drug dealers contact teenagers via Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and other apps using emojis as codes.

Oxycodone, another opiate, is sometimes advertised as a half-peeled banana; Xanax, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, like a chocolate bar; Adderall, an amphetamine that acts like a stimulant, like a train.

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The number of Americans who use drugs has remained the same in recent years, but the fatality rate has changed, said Wilson Compton, deputy director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse.

A cup of heroin is equivalent to a tablespoon of fentanyl, and less than a gram can mean the difference between life and death.

Much of the illicit fentanyl circulating in the United States is produced in clandestine labs by Mexican drug cartels using chemicals sourced from China.

Since fentanyl is much more potent, it takes much less money to fill one tablet of the drug, meaning more profit for the cartels.

A kilo of pure fentanyl can cost up to $12,000 (€11,628) and can be made into half a million pills that will sell for $30 each (about €29) worth millions of dollars, Donovan explains.

It is also easier to sell pills.

Last year, the DEA seized almost seven tons of fentanyl, enough to kill every American. Four out of every 10 pills seized contained lethal amounts of fentanyl.

“One Pill Can Kill”

Photographs titled “The Faces of Fentanyl” are on display in the hallway of DEA headquarters. [As caras do fentanil, a imagem que ilustra este artigo]. In recent years, dozens of people have died because of this drug.

“Makayla. 16 forever,” says one.

The blue pills found in the bed of this A student and “cheerleader” turned out to be 100% fentanyl. Police are investigating but no one has been arrested yet.

Last year, the DEA launched a campaign called “One Pill Can Kill” to raise awareness of the dangers of fentanyl.

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There are also efforts across the country to make naloxone, a drug that can treat opioid overdose, more affordable.

Shannon created the Makayla Foundation to help prevent tragedies like her daughter’s. This is your way of dealing with grief.

* Maria DANILOVA

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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