Increase in Fentanyl-Related Deaths Among US Youth Raises Alarming Concerns

KEY TAKEAWAYS
The United States has seen a significant increase in fentanyl-related deaths among children and teens, with over 1,500 fatalities in 2021, a four-fold increase compared to 2018.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is highly potent and often contaminates counterfeit prescription drugs or completely replaces the expected substance, leading to unintentional exposure and overdose among young individuals.
Experts emphasize the need for more education to inform parents about the lethality of fentanyl and the importance of keeping drugs out of children's reach, and the approval of naloxone for over-the-counter use can help save lives.
Fentanyl deaths among adults have also been on the rise, with over 70,000 deaths in the United States attributed to synthetic opioids in 2021.
The production and trafficking of fentanyl by drug cartels in Mexico have contributed to the surge in fatalities, and efforts are being made to reduce fentanyl-related deaths on both sides of the US-Mexico border.

 

The United States has seen a disturbing surge in fentanyl-related deaths among children and teens.

Over 1,500 kids under the age of 20 died from fentanyl in 2021, marking a four-fold increase compared to 2018.

According to epidemiologist Julie Gaither of the Yale School of Medicine, these deaths account for nearly all opioid-related fatalities within this age group in 2021.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin, making it lethal at much smaller doses.

The drug is now frequently found contaminating counterfeit prescription drugs or completely replacing the expected substance.

Unintentional Exposure and Overdose

The majority of fentanyl-related deaths among children and teens are accidental and occur at home.

In many cases, young individuals unknowingly ingest fentanyl, intending to use a different substance.

Pediatrician and addiction provider Sarah Bagley of the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine explains that people often don’t anticipate exposure to fentanyl, which can lead to overdose.

Some signs of overdose include falling asleep, losing consciousness, making gurgling or choking sounds, and having weak or no breathing.

The Need for Education and Awareness

Experts emphasize the need for more education to inform parents about the lethality of fentanyl and the importance of keeping drugs out of children’s reach.

Gaither’s analysis of pediatric mortality data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a more than 300% increase in fentanyl-related deaths from 1999 to 2021.

Fentanyl’s Impact on Adults

Fentanyl deaths among adults have also been on the rise. In 2021, over 70,000 deaths in the United States were attributed to synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, out of the more than 106,000 drug overdose fatalities reported that year.

Pediatrician and addiction provider Sarah Bagley of the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine explains that people often don’t anticipate exposure to fentanyl, which can lead to overdose.

Naloxone: A Life-Saving Antidote

In March 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, for over-the-counter use.

The medication, sold under the brand name Narcan, is safe for children of all ages and can almost immediately reverse the effects of opioids if administered in time.

Mexico: The Fentanyl Frontline

The trail of destruction caused by fentanyl begins further south, in Mexico. Manzanillo, a seaside town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, is home to the country’s largest port, which has become a hub for the chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

As a result, the region has experienced high levels of cartel violence.

Cartels and Fentanyl Production

Drug cartels in Mexico are now engaged in fentanyl production and trafficking due to its high profitability.

Synthetic opioids can be made at a fraction of the cost of producing heroin, making them extremely lucrative for the cartels.

Fentanyl is smuggled into the United States, where its price can increase tenfold.

The Ongoing Struggle

Efforts are being made to reduce fentanyl-related deaths on both sides of the US-Mexico border. The US has approved the sale of naloxone without a prescription, and Mexican authorities are working to improve port security and combat drug trafficking.

However, the tragic consequences of fentanyl addiction continue to affect individuals and families across the United States and beyond.

Craig Miller

Read Full Biography
Back to previous

You May Also Like

Special Interest

Smart Tattoos for Health: Next-Gen Monitoring Tech

This article follows The History of Tattoos, The Legacy of Apo Whang-Od, and Oil Pastel Tattoos. Injectable ‘smart tattoos’ could…

Special Interest

Astral Projection Guide: Explore Beyond Your Physical Realm

Discover the fascinating world of astral projection with our comprehensive guide. Learn the steps, benefits, and safety tips for an…

Special Interest

The Legacy of Apo Whang-Od: Master of Filipino Tattoo Art

This article follows The Rich History of Tattoos and aims to shed even more light on this ancient form of…

  • mail
  • facebook
  • twitter

related articles

Special Interest

China’s AI Censorship and India’s Hands-off Approach to Regulation

Special Interest

Unearthing Ancient Routes: Fresh Perspectives on Native American Lineage

Special Interest

Uncovering the Link between Climate Change and Technological Progress in Ancient Times


Articles About Special Interest

Discover the Secrets of Your Future: Mastering Palm Reading

January 17, 2024

The Rich History of Tattoos

January 13, 2024

Viking Runes: The Truth, Mystery and Magic

January 10, 2024

The Healing Wisdom of I Ching for Modern Well-being

January 3, 2024

Healing from Spiritual and Occupational Burnout: Expert Tips

December 27, 2023