(CBS4) -- For most, the recent cases involving fentanyl that have made headlines in our communities is a first sign of an emerging crisis.
For Brian Besser, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Denver Field Division, it is a fight they've been waging for years.
"Injecting fentanyl into conventional street drugs honestly is nothing more than pragmatic business sense by greed-driven and profit-driven enterprises," Besser said. "They don't care who dies. They just care about the base line, and that's money."
Besser, who sat down for a one-on-one conversation with CBS4 reporter Karen Morfitt, says part of why we are seeing more of the deadly drug is because it's synthetic or man-made.
Drug enterprises, he says, are manufacturing it without the attention that conventional drugs typical attract.
"They need workers; they need land; they need the capability to try and hide from law enforcement detection," Besser explained. "And then, they have to process those plants, then, they have to take that and process that into heroin, very costly time-consuming endeavor."
Now, they're making more and getting it out on the streets faster.
"You can take just a chemist the raw materials and manufacture fentanyl in a small room with very low overhead," Besser said.
While Besser says much of the country is seeing a rising death toll, there's a reason why Denver is quickly topping that list.
"We are the crossroads of the west, so you can get to a lot of different areas just through the interstate pipelines that run north and south and east and west through Denver," Besser said. "Denver is a critical spot for transnational criminal networks because they know they can drop their poison here and get it to all points."
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In 2021, Besser says the DEA's Denver division alone took roughly 1.1 million counterfeit pills off the streets. We are less than halfway through 2022, and he says they have already reached 900,000.
"Each pill to me is a human life," Besser told CBS4.
Their efforts are becoming more difficult with every passing day.
We asked Besser what the DEA's plan is to stop loss of life and the overall fentanyl trend in our communities.
"We have no silver bullet solution," Besser said. "I can say this; I work in a company of heroes; I work with a federal, state and local partners who, everyday, put their life on the line on the streets to try and take one network and one poison dealer out of the picture at a time."
The DEA has launched its "One Pill Can Kill" campaign, with a large focus on educating families about the risks surrounding fentanyl and include several resources for parents.
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