Officials: A million opioid pills mailed to Alaska yearly

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Federal law enforcement authorities say more than a million pills of a specific type of opioid are reaching Alaska through the mail each year.

Alaska Public Media reports an operation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies has turned up a previously undocumented spread of Tramadol.

Officials estimate about 100,000 pills are arriving in Alaska every month.

Officials say pharmaceutical packages of the flat, white disks resembling breath mints are being mailed to rural communities.

The operation in Anchorage seized 204 packages containing 48,545 illicit or unlawfully diverted opioid pills, including 44,580 Tramadol pills.

The Schedule IV drug provides a mild narcotic high but is less tightly regulated than stronger opioid painkillers like oxycodone.

Officials say Tramadol can also mitigate withdrawal symptoms for heavier opioid or heroin users.

Information from: KSKA-FM,