According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2020 and 2021, Fentanyl overdoses have been the leading cause of death among American adults ages 18 to 45.
The data, which was analyzed by Families Against Fentanyl, found that almost 79,000 people between the ages of 18 and 45 died of fentanyl overdoses between April 2020 and April 2021. In 2020, 37,208 people in that age group died of fentanyl overdoses. That number rose to 41,587 deaths in 2021, The Christian Post reports.
Suicide, COVID-19 and car accidents followed Fentanyl overdoses on the list of highest causes of death.
"This is a national emergency. America's young adults — thousands of unsuspecting Americans — are being poisoned," James Rauh, founder of Families Against Fentanyl, said in a statement shared with Fox 10 Phoenix.
"It is widely known that illicit fentanyl is driving the massive spike in drug-related deaths. A new approach to this catastrophe is needed," he added.
According to Families Against Fentanyl's website, fentanyl is a "synthetic opioid" that is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. When distributed legally, fentanyl, like morphine, is prescribed to patients dealing with extreme pain.
The drug was initially created to alleviate pain experienced by cancer patients or people recovering from surgeries.
A lethal dose of fentanyl is extremely small. While it would take nearly 30 mg of heroin to die, just 2 mg of fentanyl could kill someone.
According to Families Against Fentanyl, illicitly manufactured fentanyl has been found in "nearly every type of street drug."
In response to the recent analysis, Families Against Fentanyl launched a petition urging the U.S. government to label illegal fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction, which "would enable the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of Defense and other relevant federal agencies to better coordinate their efforts and immediately publish the necessary administrative directives to eliminate the threat posed by these deadly substances."
In 2021, federal authorities seized a record amount of drugs. According to data by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection arm of the Department of Homeland Security, authorities acquired 11,201 pounds of fentanyl from people attempting to cross the border. This is a massive increase from the previous year when border authorities confiscated 4,791 pounds.
In a statement issued last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration shared that over 20 million counterfeit pills containing fentanyl have been seized this year.
On Wednesday, Biden issued an executive order allowing sanctions against foreigners involved in illegal drug trafficking and production.
"I find that international drug trafficking — including the illicit production, global sale, and widespread distribution of illegal drugs; the rise of extremely potent drugs such as fentanyl and other synthetic opioids; as well as the growing role of Internet-based drug sales — constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," Biden wrote in the order.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joaquin Corbalan
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.