Inside The Fentanyl Crisis – America’s New Epidemic

Mar 27, 2022 2.3M Views 4.9K Comments

Fentanyl has infiltrated American cities and is now the drug of choice. Join me and local Bryce Batcheller who explains to us the Fentanyl epidemic and how the drug is being laced in cocaine, pain pills and even marijuana. We start in affluent Newport Beach and end up in down-and-out Skid Row to see how Fentanyl is affecting all segments of society.

► Bryce’s testing kit:

♪ hip hop ♪
[music fades]
Good morning, guys.
Beautiful Santa Monica California
but today’s story isn’t so beautiful.
It’s about the very deadly drug Fentanyl
and how it’s
ripping through American society.
The interesting thing we’re going
to get into today is
many people are OD’ing on Fentanyl
without even knowing
they’re taking Fentanyl.
We’re gonna learn
how it’s laced in other drugs.
Can be found in other pain pills
even marijuana.
So we’re gonna go to
Newport Beach today.
A very affluent place.
Meet up with a local named Bryce
who used to be in drug harm prevention
now works in Fentanyl testing.
He has a really good understanding
of what’s going on with Fentanyl.
We’ll start the story there
in the wealthy area
end up in the not so wealthy area,
Skid Row.
To see how it’s affecting everybody.
All socioeconomic backgrounds,
all different races and colors
everyone under the sun
is being affected.
Many people unknowingly
by this very deadly drug.
Should be a bit depressing
but important story.
Let’s do this.
♪ hip hop ♪
Beachfront Newport Beach.
Beautiful place.
Here we got Bryce Bachelor, right?
Bryce Bachelor, are you a bachelor?
You were telling me on the phone that
a lot of people are taking Fentanyl
without even knowing it.
It’s like in pills, even in marijuana.
I know about almost a dozen people
in the last couple years that have died
from Fentanyl overdoses.
Many of them being contaminations.
Friends locally here in Newport Beach
or around the area?
-Friends in Colorado and here.
-Oh, I’m sorry, man.
That’s brutal… Ten?
It’s crazy.
I know two people that took Xanax
that died together,
it was a boyfriend and girlfriend.
Another person that worked
right down here.
Actually worked with my brother.
He actually loved coming out
body boarding right here at the beach.
One day he hurt his shoulder.
He went to a friend to get a pain pill
because his shoulder hurt really bad.
and this pain pill was produced illicitly
and it ended up containing Fentanyl in it
and it ended up killing him.
-So just like a Valium or something?
Yeah, it was either a Valium
or a Percocet or an Oxycontin.
-Something like that.
So contamination in the processing
of the drug, how does that work?
I’ll be clear, this is a hypothesis.
-But it’s the best hypothesis available.
When drugs go though
their steps of the supply chain
at some point along the way
drugs are crossing paths
and sometimes being contaminated
with Fentanyl.
This has been happening quite a bit
with methamphetamine and cocaine.
These drugs are sold in tandem.
Something like heroin or Fentanyl
is also coming through Mexico
with cocaine
being sold to similar buyers
that then distribute out further
to other sellers
and when these drugs are being processed,
especially heroin
it’s being cut with Fentanyl.
Cocaine is being contaminated
or coming into contact
with this heroin or Fentanyl
which is then winding up in bags
of cocaine that are being sold
on the street level.
It’s still considered rare that you’re
gonna come across a bag of cocaine
that has a lethal amount of Fentanyl
but it’s starting to happen
more, and more, and more.
Is it by design to get people more hooked
or it’s just by accident?
It’s in the…
These drugs are close together
in transport and production
so therefore
something gets into something else?
If you are doing heroin or Fentanyl
this is a sedative,
this is something that brings you down
-and puts you in a sedated state.
If you’re taking
cocaine or methamphetamine
that’s not what you’re looking for.
-You want to be in an elevated state.
So mixing these drugs together
doesn’t make a lot of sen…
It really doesn’t make any sense.
Are people in Newport…
This is an affluent place.
Are they taking Fentanyl on purpose
do you think?
Many people or that drug’s not
coming into here.
It’s only by accident that people
are having these OD’s.
I think for the majority of people,
people are not consuming Fentanyl here
-on purpose.
Is it a big issue in just the major cities
or it’s everywhere uniformly
in the country right now?
Obviously it depends on where you are,
some places it affects more than others.
-But this is an issue everywhere.
As the Fentanyl epidemic has ramped up
a lot in the last couple of years
it’s been more and more important
to make sure that, you know,
you’re not coming
into contact with Fentanyl.
Having access to testing if you can
and having access to Naloxone or Narcan
which is a reversal drug that basically
will take you out of an overdose.
To be fair, the safest way not to run into
any contact with Fentanyl
is not to do anything.
-[laughs] Correct.
Correct, correct.
-Drink water, eat granola bars,
call it good.
Your Fentanyl is all coming
over the border from Mexico, right?
Uh, yeah, pretty much.
-Pretty much?
Made in China?
A lot of it is coming from China.
So basically
the chemical manufacturing laws
in China aren’t super-tight.
So Fentanyl as well as precursors
of Fentanyl are being
shipped to ports in Mexico
and then from there they either…
If it’s Fentanyl, then they can cut it
into whatever pills, drugs they have.
If it’s a precursor, then they can
make the Fentanyl there.
And then put it into
whatever drugs they need.
The chemicals come from China
on a boat to Mexico.
Why not come on a boat
to the United States?
It’s too hard to smuggle it in?
Yeah, I’ve seen plenty of videos online
where a cargo ship is coming in
to a port in Mexico
and what they do
is someone that works on the boat
will drop the drugs off the cargo boat
and then a fishing boat will come get it.
And then like a little tourist boat
will come up to the fishing boat.
They’ll throw it off the fishing boat.
The tourist boat will scoop it up and then
they’ll just drive it right into land.
Okay, and that wouldn’t work here?
-[laughs] No, no.
-Too many eyeballs?
-Yeah, it’s too risky.
So ingredients come from China
then it’s brought up through Mexico
over the border.
Which it’s pretty easy to get things
over the border these days.
-I was down there… back last April.
It’s pretty unbelievable
what’s going on there.
So it easily goes over the border
and then the distribution channels up here
that’s all set up.
Easy-peasy, huh?
[waves crashing]
And this is what?
This right here?
People come here who have drug issues
or whatnot?
One of many in Newport Beach.
There’s about a dozen rehab centers
and halfway houses
within two miles of here.
If you want help you can get it?
Yeah, it’s expensive, but yeah.
-People are paying for this?
-Oh yeah, absolutely.
It’s not go get free help if you’re
on the street and you got a problem?
No, most of it’s probably covered
by insurance, but I mean, very expensive.
This is high-end rehab facilities.
They can improve the door
if they’re super-expensive
-don’t you think?
Over the pandemic, last two years
COVID’s gotten a lot of media coverage
Fentanyl has gotten some attention but
not enough compared
to the damage that it’s done.
One thing that I think
that most people have no idea about
is the mortality rates for people
between the age of 18 and 45.
The mortality rate for people
that have died from Fentanyl
compared to COVID is about
five to ten times.
-Five to ten times?
Do you think the government’s doing much?
Let’s just say at a federal level.
Are there huge initiatives to sort of
turn the tide with this or…
I think that the response
has been pretty slow
and it’s very reactive,
it’s not proactive.
This year, for 2022,
the Biden administration is allocating
about $11.5 billion
to try and fight the opioid epidemic.
Which is a 54% increase.
So they’re definitely trying
to step things up
but it’s been a very reactive approach
rather than a proactive approach.
We were just talking and she’s like,
“Are you filming a vlog?”
and I said, “Yes, about Fentanyl,
would you like to be in the story?”
-You know about Fentanyl obviously.
All right guys, so we’re gonna
get on the highway
go about an hour north
into the belly of the beast, Skid Row.
Where there’s a lot of Fentanyl
on the streets there.
I was there yesterday.
It’s quite unbelievable.
The goal is to actually talk to someone
who is a user and get that perspective.
♪ hip hop ♪
[music fades]
WOMAN: [unintelligible]
MAN: No, I got Corey, I got Corey.
Okay, okay.
You’re going to show me some users, right?
Yeah, right here.
[aggressively] I’m trying to
talk to him man, you up here…
Okay guys, we’re downtown Skid Row.
We’re gonna see actually
what’s going on in the streets
and the goal also is
to get Bryce over here.
We don’t know where Bryce went,
we’re looking for Bryce.
I’m just waiting for a buddy,
he’s coming out.
He’s gonna test it,
if it’s good Fentanyl or not.
[muffled speech]
-Your name?
-Lory, you use Fentanyl?
How often?
Every day, so tell me about it.
When did that start?
I got addicted to it from a hospital.
My ex-boyfriend hit me on my side,
it ruptured my spleen
broke all the ribs on my left side
and punctured my lung.
So they had me on 30Mg of Morphine
40Mg of Oxycontin
and 75 micrograms of Fentanyl
for 16 weeks.
Then told me to go home
and take Tylenol.
-What’s your name?
Susie, okay.
So you use, what,
every day, every other day?
Every day.
I have to, otherwise I get sick.
So are you pretty high right now?
No, it doesn’t even get me high
It takes pain from my left side
and it just keeps me from being sick.
Oh, gotcha, gotcha.
So what’s the Fentanyl scene these days?
Let’s just say in the last couple years,
what’s been going on
here in Skid Row?
Everybody’s doing it,
there’s no more heroin, it’s just Fentanyl.
It’s even in…
They cut it with everything now.
It’s in methamphetamines,
it’s in cocaine.
Will you please tell me it’s not in
Coco Puffs for kids.
It’s not in Coco Puffs for kids.
Okay, not yet. Good, good to hear.
You were saying a few years ago,
maybe two, three years ago
not much Fentanyl down here.
No there wasn’t…
Fentanyl came around here like in 2017.
I had just gotten out of prison
and people were talking about it
and I’m like, “What is it?” you know?
And then finally when I went
to the hospital and they gave it to me.
I thought, “Okay, you really
actually give people Fentanyl?”
They were like, “Yeah.”
It’s the hospital, so…
They gave you quite a bit
from the hospital, huh?
Do you have any on you right now?
Um, I don’t.
-My boy here, Bryce tests it
to see how good it is.
-You got a little bit?
Right here.
Can you test it right here?
You know the streets better than me.
-We need water?
There’s a store right here.
Bryce is an expert on testing Fentanyl
and these are the kits
you represent right now, right?
Let’s give it a try,
let’s see how this works.
-or your drugs?
-No, no.
Okay, you don’t have to answer
this question if you don’t want to
but are you an IV user,
do you snort it, do you smoke it?
-I shoot it.
-You snort it?
Oh, you shoot it, okay.
-What we’ll do…
-Not too many people do.
A lot of people stopped shooting up drugs
just to smoke it.
Which is kind of a good thing
but they’re taking one hit off of foil
and they’re dying from it.
Well that, plus it lasts longer.
It’s 50 times stronger than regular heroin,
100 times stronger than Morphine.
So it’s like, you know,
2Mg is a lethal dose.
That’s it.
I do like a half a gram a shot.
When I do it, I do a lot.
People look at me like I’m crazy.
‘Cause my shots would probably
kill 10 or 15 people.
Okay, wow.
-You’ve never used a tester before?
Okay, so what this tester does is
it identifies either Fentanyl
or Fentanyl analogues.
Do you know what carfentanyl is?
Have you heard of that?
They think that
because the sh*t runs clear here
that it’s carfentanyl.
I think…
I say, “No.”
’cause it’s like half a Milligram
of carfentanyl is a lethal dose
-compared to regular Fentanyl.
So this has the ability to identify
Fentanyl and also other Fentanyl analogues.
So different types of Fentanyl.
Because right now, there’s…
I don’t think there’s
no carfentanyl on the street.
I think it’s just Fentanyl.
People think because it runs clear
when they smoke it
that it’s carfentanyl.
-I think it’s just what they cut it with.
Carfentanyl is very rare
just because of how dangerous it is.
-and how lethal it can be.
As a matter of fact, Prince,
he died from
an accidental overdose of Fentanyl.
So did Tom Petty.
No, he died from Fentanyl.
Everybody thinks Michael Jackson
died from Propofol.
But prince died from Fentanyl.
-It’s all from Mexico?
Yeah, they say that every time
a worker makes it
that he dies, they bury him
and then another one comes on.
My friend caught a habit
from just touching it.
‘Cause he sells it.
Just… Right here.
So that’s what it is,
it just looks like cocaine basically.
Yeah, see that’s what they’re doing
a lot lately now too
they’re telling people they have cocaine
and then giving people lines of Fentanyl
and they’re dying from it.
[woman walks by shouting]
Want me to just like scoop it to the side?
Here, you just wanna take it out?
I don’t care if…
-Can I hold it?
-You can…
[woman shouting in the distance]
I just usually keep it on me…
-Got the test going here…
-in case I see somebody sick.
It’s pretty hardcore down here, guys.
If I see somebody sick,
I’m gonna give it to them
’cause I don’t want them to be sick.
Right, so that’s how the test works.
You take a little, you put it in…
Some container usually.
If we have a cup or something
it’s better but
obviously we don’t have a lot on hand.
So we’re gonna use this
as our testing vessel.
Okay, so if this was marijuana,
that’s what you’d do?
You’d put the…
If you thought it was laced with Fentanyl
you’d put the marijuana
in this testing kit?
What you could do is take
a cotton swab and wet it with water
and then touch, let’s say, cannabis,
and then put that in water
and then test it from there.
Because of how sensitive these tests are
it doesn’t matter if we
put extra water in it.
It does not, it’s gonna give us
a positive or a negative.
That would be really f*cked up
if it tested there’s none in there.
Yeah, you’re on, like,
rat poison or something.
That’s what meth is made of,
rat poison.
15 second dip…
One line is positive,
two lines is negative.
Usually the second line is
somewhere around there.
Which if the second line shows up
around there, it’s positive.
-It’s showing there’s no Fentanyl at all?
-No, no, there is.
-This is testing positive for Fentanyl.
Susie, do you have any goals of
getting off this stuff or not really?
I got arrested for a week last year
and I was so sick when I got out,
that’s why I did it again.
Are you concerned or afraid
about potentially dying from this?
‘Cause my tolerance is so high now,
it doesn’t even…
I do a half a gram a shot,
that’s a lot.
What’s the percentage of people
using Fentanyl in the streets
right now you think?
Out of 10, how many are using it?
8 out of 10 in Skid Row?
And that’s the number-one go to?
Do you guys use?
Nobody even does heroin no more,
they all do Fentanyl.
It’s not cheaper, it’s very expensive.
It’s like a gram of it’s $120 or $100.
How long does that last you?
A day.
It’ll last me a day.
120 bucks a day?
-How do you swing that?
-I… Hustle.
I go to stores and steal clothing.
You get clothing from stores?
What’s that?
and then so now,
it’s meth and Fentanyl, right?
-Both stronger…
-Dude, I sold black for a long time
and I avoided selling Fentanyl for
a long time ’cause I was scared of it.
I do not.
No, I have that… I used to.
And I’m sober now.
Yeah, it’s a battle every day
but, um…
No one does heroin anymore,
now Fentanyl is here.
For years I didn’t sell it,
but the last five years…
You need to do so much more heroin
than you do Fentanyl.
getting it in their drugs
and then when they switch to a different…
Different supplier,
the buzz isn’t the same.
Like, “Hey, what’s going on?
This doesn’t feel the same.”
Well in their coke, or in their crack,
or in their black, which is heroin.
They were getting Fentanyl
and they didn’t even know it.
So that’s when it’s scary, is when
you’re shooting or snorting something
you don’t know Fentanyl is in there,
that’s where most of the OD’s come from.
It’s from those people.
‘Cause with, like, heroin,
they put a little bit of Fentanyl.
It’s the most minute amount,
you’re testing it
you know, crystal, cocaine…
If you try and hold your breath
under water, you’re eventually
gonna have a reflex,
you’re gonna pop up, right?
Your body’s gonna take over,
like, you’re gonna pass out
and then you’re gonna gasp for air.
Same thing if you’re smoking fetty.
-That’s what it’s known as.
But if you have a tolerance for drugs
and you’re smoking Fentanyl
I’ve never known anybody to overdose.
The people that overdose are the ones
that shoot it or snort it
don’t know it’s in there, okay?
Or it’s in crack and they have
no narcotic tolerance, like to opioids.
Take a big hit of that
and they get really high.
They’ll say,
“Oh, my friend overdosed, they died.”
Good chance they got really high
for five minutes and fell down.
trying to provide testing resources
to different needle exchanges
and community health centers
around the United States
You should have a lot more of these.
What’s the youngest age you see?
You guys all live down here?
-I live in an apartment down here.
-I live right across the street.
Just coming down to visit,
just coming to see a few buddies.
I live in the hotel
across the street right there.
-That hotel?
So the way you get this is
you hit stores
you make your money that way,
you buy the drug
repeat, repeat, every day?
For a year and a half.
A booster, what do you mean?
He wants a new sweater…
You don’t boost?
So boosting is when you go steal?
I usually go back to prison.
I’ve been out four years,
this is the longest I’ve ever been out.
So I’m usually back in
within six months.
So me being out this long,
it’s harder for me
because I can go into a store,
even with a mask on
and they’ll still know who I am.
Do you…
Is there anything you like about prison?
No, I just go there to do time and get out.
I don’t make no friends,
I don’t want nobody’s phone number.
I just go there to do my time
and get the f*ck out.
When I used to be down here more.
When I was, like,
using every day and stuff
and see new people come into the area
and they weren’t known and stuff
and you know, you’re in Skid Row.
You’re f*ckin’ scared to death,
people are freaked out.
Then you get comfortable,
you learn how to monetize your abilities.
Some people are good at certain things.
Some are better at boosting,
some are better at, you know
turn tricks, but if you’re around enough…
Turn tricks, what do you mean?
Turn tricks would be like sell
your body for sex or something like that.
But if you’re around enough,
you’ll find people that, you know,
you can get what you want
by trading your skillset.
So she goes, steals stuff,
trades to him, gets her drugs
and like, currency is not just money.
Like, rarely is it money
or part of the time it’s money.
Whatever you do, whatever you’re good at,
however you can bring in money
you know, just like in the real world.
How can you monetize yourself
or your business
and then do that down here
to get what you need?
So the trading is amazing.
I’ve seen people trade up
from little things.
Like a f*ckin’ pen and, like,
get up to a car.
Like, that sh*t happens.
If you do it at the right time.
-And, you know, ride the market
with certain things, it’s amazing.
Electronics, cell phones, clothes,
I have boosters like her.
And you’re okay with being on camera?
No problem?
So Fentanyl mostly, right?
Fentanyl, all from Mexico, right?
Just curious, how often is the Fentanyl
winding up in the meth as well?
My friend, his first drug sales charge,
they gave him 20 years for it.
For selling Fentanyl.
It’s not a misdemeanor,
it’s a felony.
-And you’re okay with being on camera?
-Yeah, I’m fine.
If they find it on you
they make a big deal about it.
They don’t even want to touch it.
Police officers have gotten…
OD’d from it, from touching it
and from just smelling it.
Bryce, you still hanging?
You didn’t touch it, did you?
All right, Bryce is still standing.
What is this?
It’s Narcan.
It’s injectable Naloxone.
It will bring you out of a comatose
Fentanyl stage or heroin stage.
You think so?
People say they’ve given four or five
Fentanyl things in their nose
So you guys all carry this stuff
in case you OD?
You carry that?
People fall out all the time
from just taking a hit, they’ll OD.
Once you overdose…
Every time somebody OD’s they’ll say,
“I just gave them four or five Narcans.”
That stuff really f*cks up your body.
-It depletes everything out of you.
-and it don’t work.
Makes you sick.
You have someone that’s dead…
Let’s bounce on this street.
Thank you, guys.
I wish you the best.
Person died right here.
Two people died right up in this hotel,
right here, behind it.
That hotel?
My friend died over there.
Another friend of mine
died over there on Wall.
Another friend died on Main.
They just dying from behind Fentanyls.
Do you use Fentanyl?
Gonna wrap this up, guys.
It’s quite disturbing and unfortunate
what’s going on with Fentanyl
and you can see in this video
it’s hitting all segments of society.
This is not a video to promote
any drug at all
but there is a way to test
and that’s quite frightening that
this stuff is getting into
absolutely everything on the streets.
I’m gonna leave a link below
to what Bryce does in the description.
I feel good we brought
some awareness to this situation.
I don’t feel good that
I don’t see a solution.
-Thanks, Bryce.
-Of course, no problem.
-Thanks for bringing us in.
And thanks for coming along on that, guys.
Not an easy story
but I think a very important one.
Take care.
Until the next one.
♪ hip hop ♪

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