WASHINGTON (TND) — The number one killer of Americans aged 18 to 45 is now fentanyl overdoses, with nearly 79,000 people in the age range dying to them between 2020 and 2021, according to newly released data.
“Families Against Fentanyl,” an opioid awareness organization, analyzed the data from U.S. government sources and found 37,208 died in 2020 and 41,587 died in 2021. Comparatively, data says COVID-19 killed more than 53,000 in the demographic in the same time period.
Fentanyl overdoses reportedly surpassed suicide, COVID-19, and car accidents as the leading cause of death for the demographic.
“This is a national emergency. America’s young adults — thousands of unsuspecting Americans — are being poisoned,” the founder of Families Against Fentanyl, James Rauh, said according to Fox News. “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 an incredibly powerful synthetic opioid, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). It is reportedly similar to morphine, but it is 50 to 100 times more potent.
Like morphine, it is a medicine that is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, especially after surgery,” the NIDA says. “It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, both Mexico and China are the primary sources for fentanyl flowing into America. The DEA says India is becoming more and more of a source for fentanyl supply in the United States.
“Bold action is needed to stop this trend!” says Families Against Fentanyl in a Twitter thread. “The U.S. needs the authority to root out the international manufacturers and traffickers of this dangerous chemical BEFORE it reaches our streets.”
Fentanyl deaths in America across all age groups doubled from 32,754 fatalities to 64,178 fatalities in just two years between April 2019 and April 2021, according to the data, Families Against Fentanyl says.
Experts reportedly believe the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has correlated to the increase of fentanyl overdoses.
We definitely believe that there’s a correlation between the recent stimulus checks that were sent out and the overdoses we’re seeing right now,” said the executive director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition, Lauren Cummings to Fox News in an interview. “We saw an increase in overdoses after the first round of stimulus payouts. We annually see an increase in overdoses following tax returns.
Families Against Fentanyl wants lawmakers to designate the drug as a “weapon of mass destruction” saying doing so could “save lives”.
A WMD designation can empower the US to shift from a policy of mass incarceration of Americans with substance use disorder and low level drug dealers to an all [out] government approach to stop the flow of this poison into our country and stop the poisoning of our people,” said Families Against Fentanyl in its Twitter thread.