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The Fentanyl Road: From China and Mexico to the streets of America

DEA top cop Mike Vigil.jpg
Courtesy Photo
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International drug expert Mike Vigil

All across America, an epidemic worse than COVID-19 is killing kids and younger adults.

The killer's name is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.

KSFR's Mary Lou Cooper explores the fentanyl road with Mike Vigil, native New Mexican and former chief of international operations for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

From raw ingredients made in China to rustic manufacturing labs in Mexico to distribution points across the border, Vigil discusses why Mexican cartels are transitioning from traditional drugs to fentanyl.

The story also explores solutions on both the supply and demand side of the fentanyl equation.

Mary Lou Cooper reports on consumer issues for KSFR as well as on politics and elder affairs. She has worked for the U.S. Congress as well as for the Nevada and Tennessee legislatures, and remains a political junkie. She worked many years for an association of Western state legislatures and was a contributor to “Capitol Ideas,” a national magazine about state government. In 2016 Cooper received a public service award from the New Mexico Broadcasting Association for her KSFR story on Internet romance scams. She has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and from the National Federation of Press Women. She grew up in Oak Ridge, TN and received her BA from Emory University in Atlanta and her MA from the University of Texas Austin. She also holds fiction and screenwriting certificates from the University of Washington.