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Fentanyl overdoses become No. 1 cause of death among Americans aged 18-45

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The No. 1 killer of Americans aged 18-45 is fentanyl overdoses, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Families Against Fentanyl – a nonprofit with a mission to "fight illicitly manufactured fentanyl" – carried out an analysis of CDC data and discovered that fentanyl overdoses have become the No. 1 cause of death among U.S. adults, ages 18-45.

The analysis notes that between 2020 and 2021, nearly 79,000 Americans in that demographic died of fentanyl overdoses – 37,208 in 2020 and 41,587 in 2021. More Americans in that age range died from fentanyl overdoses than any other cause of death, including suicide, car accidents, cancer, and COVID-19, according to the report.

In all age brackets, fentanyl fatalities have nearly doubled in two years, from 32,754 fatalities in April 2019 to 64,178 deaths in April 2021. The opioid awareness organization Families Against Fentanyl finds that fentanyl, on average, fatally poisons one person every 8.57 minutes.

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl overdose deaths increased in Western, Southern, and Midwestern states between 2019 and 2020, according to a CDC report published on Tuesday.

"The research determined that fentanyl-related overdose fatalities surpassed 1,800 in Western states in the second half of last year, amid the coronavirus pandemic. This amounts to an almost 94 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019," The Hill reported.

"Southern states saw more than 4,300 deaths involving fentanyl between July and December 2020, a nearly 65 percent increase compared to the second half of 2019. Fentanyl-related fatalities rose 33 percent in Midwestern states, reaching beyond 2,000 in the second half of last year," the outlet added.

James Rauh – founder of Families Against Fentanyl – told Fox News, "This is a national emergency. America’s young adults — thousands of unsuspecting Americans — are being poisoned. It is widely known that illicit fentanyl is driving the massive spike in drug-related deaths. A new approach to this catastrophe is needed."

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"An overdose occurs when a drug produces serious adverse effects and life-threatening symptoms," the National Institute on Drug Abuse explained. "When people overdose on fentanyl, their breathing can slow or stop. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to a coma and permanent brain damage, and even death."

Between April 2020 and April 2021, there were 100,306 overall drug overdose deaths – the first time the death toll reached six figures in a 12-month period, according to provisional data from the National Center for Health Statistics. In April, overall drug overdose deaths rose a whopping 28% from the year before.

"Synthetic opioids, including illicitly manufactured fentanyls (IMFs), were involved in 64% of >100,000 estimated U.S. drug overdose deaths during May 2020–April 2021," the CDC states.

Overall drug overdose deaths are projected to hit another grim milestone in 2021, with more than 100,000 deaths for the year, according to the CDC.

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