Fentanyl poising deaths doubled in 30 states between 2019 and 2021, according to an analysis of U.S. government data.
Five states including Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana Mississippi, California and Texas saw a five-fold increase in fentanyl deaths, the analysis from opioid awareness organization Families Against Fentanyl shows.
“The fentanyl crisis is getting worse, not better. Fake pills with deadly amounts of fentanyl are popping up everywhere. It’s in fake Xanax and Percocets, it’s being laced in cocaine and ecstasy. A single pill can kill,” Families Against Fentanyl founder James Rauh, who lost his son to fentanyl poisoning, said in a Thursday statement.
The synthetic opioid can be deadly even in very small amounts, and other drugs, including heroin, meth and marijuana, can be laced with the dangerous drug. Mexico and China are the primary sources for the flow of fentanyl into the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
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“Fentanyl poisoning is tearing families apart and killing our young people at an alarming rate,” Rauh said. “This stuff is so deadly it’s been used as a chemical weapon. Even babies and young children have been fatally poisoned by accident. It does not belong on our streets. It’s time for our leaders in Washington to do more.”
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The 30 states that saw fentanyl deaths doubled — or more-than doubled — over two years include Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana Mississippi, California, Texas, Oregon, Kansas, Idaho, Alabama, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Georgia, Washington, Nevada, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, South Carolina, Tennessee, Iowa, Indiana, Arkansas,
In 2021, Florida recorded the highest number of total fentanyl poising deaths in the U.S., followed by California, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey.
West Virginia recorded the highest number of fentanyl poisoning deaths per capita last year, followed by Washington, D.C.; Maryland; Delaware; Ohio; Kentucky; Tennessee; Connecticut; Maine and Rhode Island.
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Ohio has recorded more fentanyl deaths since 2015 than the 20 states with the fewest fentanyl deaths combined, losing nearly 20,000 people to the dangerous opioid.
Since 2015, Louisiana has seen the most drastic jump — 2,363% — in fentanyl deaths, followed by Arizona (2,172%), California (2,137%), Indiana (1,370%), Minnesota (1,189%) and Washington state (1,169%).
Families Against Fentanyl released an analysis in December 2021 that found fentanyl deaths surged to the No. 1 cause of deaths for U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 45.
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“It is time to attack fentanyl overdoses with the same vigor and approaches as we do the coronavirus. It is heartbreaking to treat babies who overdosed or people who had no idea their pills or powder was contaminated with a deadly poison,” Dr. Roneet Lev, emergency physician and former Chief Medical Officer of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement
Lev continued: “Treating fentanyl overdoses is an attempt to bring someone back from the dead. As an emergency physician I do my best, but sadly we are not always successful. Fentanyl suppliers are preying on the vulnerable in our society.”