To say that the opioid epidemic has been a growing concern in the United States would be an understatement of epic proportions. 

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency in a desperate attempt to combat the staggering increase in opioid-related overdose deaths, which have only continued to rise at an alarming rate since the declaration. 

One of the major contributing factors is the rapid rise of illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) found in almost every street drug imaginable.

It’s potency and low production costs make it an attractive prospect for both dealers and suppliers in the underground drug trade.

United States Fentanyl crisis

NarcX: A Shining Light in the Darkness

Although the proper response to this epidemic requires a comprehensive approach from law enforcement, the public healthcare system, and government officials, one company has illuminated the path towards a brighter future with their innovative drug disposal solutions called NarcX and NarcX+

In this in-depth exploration, we’ll confront the harsh realities of the illicit fentanyl epidemic gripping America and highlight how NarcX’s advanced biodegradable medication disposal system emerges as a critical ally in the fight against illicit fentanyl and the broader opioid crisis.

illicit fentanyl and the opioid epidemic in America

Illicit Fentanyl and the Opioid Epidemic: The Facts

If we are to fully comprehend the magnitude of this opioid crisis, it’s important to know how we got here and determine exactly what we’re up against.

First and foremost, Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid, about 100 times more potent than morphine

While it was originally developed for the treatment of patients with chronic or servere pain, this synthetic opioid has evolved into what we now refer to as “illicit fentanyl,” primarily found in illicit street drugs and manufactured by clandestine drug operations, both domestic and abroad.

Marking the Third Wave in Opioid Overdose Deaths

The opioid epidemic is marked by three distinct waves in the U.S. starting back in the 1990s when prescription opioid overdose deaths started to gain traction. Then again in 2010 with a spike in heroin use, and most recently in 2013 when synthetic opioid overdose deaths exploded due to illicit fentanyl arriving from China, Mexico, and other parts of the world. 

Here are some of the facts and figures that prove just how big the illicit fentanyl crisis is for the United States:

  • The rate of fentanyl overdose is increasing 2.5 times faster than overdoses involving heroin.
  • Overdose deaths from fentanyl outpace those from prescription opioids by 550.94%.
  • The effective dose to lethal dose ratio of fentanyl is alarmingly low at 1:4, highlighting its extreme potency.
  • Just one kilogram of fentanyl can contain up to 250,000 lethal doses.

(These facts and figures are taken from: National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics)

Check out this Nightline episode on the US Fentanyl Crisis and the prospect of a fourth wave in the epidemic.

(Video Credit: ABC News)

Unfortunately, many of these statistics appear to be somewhat dated as numbers rose dramatically in the past 5 years with some calling in a fourth wave to this maturing epidemic

Here are the most current estimates we could find:

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opioid addiction in America

Fentanyl in the Drug Market

The roots of the fentanyl crisis can be traced to changes in the illicit drug market.

An analysis of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) data paints a revealing picture: in 2013, 99% of the illegal opioid market was dominated by pure heroin, but by 2021, this number had plummeted to just 23%. 

In contrast, fentanyl’s presence soared to 52%, with an additional 16% being a mix of heroin and fentanyl

This shift is not just a statistical anomaly but a reflection of the changing dynamics in drug supply and demand.

Cost-effective and Easy to Make

Economically, fentanyl represents a profitable venture for illicit drug manufacturers and dealers. 

Its synthetic nature means it can be produced in a lab, bypassing the need for plant-derived raw materials required for drugs like heroin or cocaine. 

This not only makes it cheaper to produce but also results in higher profit margins. 

Despite the increasing demand and challenges to supply, fentanyl remains cheaper than ever – a disturbing reality that has only fueled its proliferation.

Lack of Oversight and Danger of Contamination

Devoid of any quality control or oversight, this illicit fentanyl market poses an obvious public health risk. 

The lack of precision in producing illicit fentanyl means that even a minuscule amount – as little as two milligrams – can be fatal, depending on an individual’s body size, tolerance, and past drug usage.

Cross-contamination and fentanyl counterfit pills have shown to contain more than twice the amount considered to be a lethal dose.

Shockingly, 42% of pills tested for fentanyl contained at least 2mg of the substance whether they were sold as fentanyl or some other drug entirely.

public health crisis in america with fentanyl

NarcX: A Validated Solution

In the shadow of this epidemic, innovative solutions are critically needed to curtail the widespread devastation from illicit fentanyl and other drugs alike.

One such beacon of hope is NarcX, a Utah-based company that has made a significant breakthrough in the on-site destruction of illicit drugs, particularly fentanyl.

Let’s take a look at their groundbreaking drug disposal technology and underscore its pivotal role in the fight against drug abuse.

NarcX and NarcX+ Biodegrabale Drug Disposal Solution Overview

NarcX and its enhanced version NarcX+ represent innovative solutions in the realm of biodegradable drug disposal. 

With NarcX’s proprietary formulation, these solutions are designed to safely and effectively neutralize a wide range of pharmaceuticals, including potent opioids like fentanyl. 

Originally as an advanced formula for drug destruction outside of the common household, NarcX+ has achieved a significant milestone by being the first to meet DEA standards for the destruction of illicit fentanyl and has been independently validated for its efficacy. 

The solution works rapidly, breaking down fentanyl tablets in minutes and powder forms in hours, ensuring safe and compliant disposal.

This technology positions NarcX as a crucial tool in addressing the opioid crisis and preventing drug diversion and abuse.

Here’s a quick video overview of the biodegradable medication disposal solution from NarcX. Since this video, NarcX’s proprietary formula has been patent-approved and independently validated for the destruction of illicit fentanyl and other drugs.

public health crisis in america with fentanyl

NarcX+ A Pioneering Solution in Drug Disposal 

NarcX+ represents a significant advancement in the realm of drug disposal. It’s the first product to meet DEA standards for destroying illicit fentanyl and rendering it non-retrievable. 

This innovation is not only a technological feat but also a crucial development in combating the opioid epidemic. 

NarcX+’s method involves an environmentally safe solution that has been independently validated for its effectiveness against illicit fentanyl tablets and powders.

Independent Validation and Effectiveness

The validation of NarcX+’s capabilities was conducted by the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education (CFSRE), a forensic toxicology and chemistry laboratory. 

Utilizing Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) technology, the lab tests confirmed that NarcX+ could completely destroy illicit fentanyl tablets within just 5 minutes, and render fentanyl powder non-retrievable in 3 hours

This rapid and effective method of drug disposal places NarcX+ at the forefront of on-site drug destruction technologies.

community opioid epidemic awareness

NarcX+’s Impact on Communities

The practical implications of NarcX+ are immense.

In Riverton City, for example, the police department has adopted NarcX’s products, replacing less secure disposal methods. 

This change has significantly improved the safety and well-being of both citizens and law enforcement personnel. 

The ability of NarcX+ to securely and quickly neutralize dangerous substances like fentanyl has made it an invaluable asset in the community’s efforts to combat drug diversion and misuse.

Check out the NarcX pilot program in Riverton. It has been a huge success for both the public and law enforcement!

The Future of NarcX in Drug Disposal

Pilot programs like the one in Riverton are only the beginning.

Since then, NarcX has been piloted in select VA hospitals, law enforcement agencies, addiction recovery centers, city halls, and other government institutions.

With this recent study validating the effecacy of its product, NarcX will continue to proliferate and expand its reach.

As it makes it’s way across the country, it holds the promise of reshaping the narrative in the battle against fentanyl and opioid addiction at large.

Conclusion: NarcX Takes a Huge Step Forward

While the fight against the fentanyl crisis demands a comprehensive strategy, NarcX stands at the vanguard, heralding a brighter future in this challenging battle.

Their innovative approach to drug disposal symbolizes a significant step forward, offering hope in a landscape often marred by despair.

Though the journey ahead remains complex, NarcX’s pioneering solutions shine as beacons of progress, illuminating the path towards a safer and healthier society in the ongoing war against opioid abuse.

We are the Solution.


Ciccarone, D. “The Rise of Illicit FENTANYLS, Stimulants and the Fourth… : Current Opinion in Psychiatry.” LWW, Accessed 7 Jan. 2024.

“Facts about Fentanyl.” DEA, Accessed 7 Jan. 2024.

Kilmer, Beau, and Et al. “Rapid Changes in Illegally Manufactured Fentanyl … – Wiley Online Library.” Wiley Online Library, Accessed 8 Jan. 2024.

Merelli, Annalisa. “The Global Economics behind America’s Fentanyl Problem.” Quartz, 8 Nov. 2022,

“Opioid Crisis Statistics [2023]: Prescription Opiod Abuse.” NCDAS, 1 Jan. 2023,,are%20attributed%20to%20synthetic%20opioids.

“Opioid Data Analysis and Resources.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Aug. 2023,

“Hidden Epidemic: US Fentanyl Crisis Worsens | Nightline.” YouTube, YouTube, 29 Sept. 2022, Accessed 8 Jan. 2024. 

“United States Drug Enforcement Administration.” DEA Laboratory Testing Reveals That 6 out of 10 Fentanyl-Laced Fake Prescription Pills Now Contain a Potentially Lethal Dose of Fentanyl | DEA.Gov, Accessed 8 Jan. 2024.

Unkel, Chelsea, et al. “The Fentanyl Crisis: Death at the End of the Rainbow.” Open Access Government, 9 Jan. 2023,

Jake Tripp

Jake Tripp

Content Strategist/Writer

I’m a content strategist and copywriter who specializes in social media and blog content architecture. I help brands nationwide to communicate their values and build loyal audiences.

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