LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The deadliest drug crisis in the U.S. started with people overdosing on prescription opioids.

On Tuesday, the Mob Museum hosted “The Rise of ‘Big Dope’: Organized Crime and America’s Raging Opioid Crisis” panel discussion, to shed more light on the nationwide crisis.

The guest speaker was Sam Quinones a journalist who has researched the crisis for decades and said it is now at levels the country has never seen.

He went on to speak about the impact tens of millions of pills that are said to be flowing into the U.S. from Mexico drug cartels can have.

“They’re looking for new ways of packaging it so to speak, of delivering it. These new counterfeit pills are now everywhere and they’re extraordinarily deadly and frequently so because the people who are buying them very often don’t know what they’re buying,” He added. “They think they’re buying a legitimate pain pill and it turns out it only has fentanyl in it and it killed them.”

Earlier this summer, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department introduced a social media campaign, warning teens of dangerous pills.

In 2020, and 2021, 16 people under the age of 18 died from a Fentanyl overdose.