Fentanyl To Blame For Massive Spike In Overdose Deaths

By Bryan Le 04/02/18

The CDC recently announced that overdose deaths rose 21% in 2016.

America`s Opiate Prescription addiction problem is becoming the greatest threat to the American Middle class.
Fentanyl has driven America's drug problem out of control.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put the opioid crisis into perspective in a new analysis—reporting that 63,632 Americans were killed by drug overdose in 2016, which rounds out to a whopping 174 deaths a day.

The figure represents a 21% spike in deaths from 2015, just a year before. Of these deaths, more than 42,000 involved opioids; that’s two out of three drug deaths in the United States.

The CDC places the blame on synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, for this still-growing death count. The organization has found fentanyl to be 100 times as powerful as morphine and 50 times as powerful as heroin. It’s been used as an adulterant in other drugs, such as cocaine. Some analogs of fentanyl are shockingly lethal, such as carfentanil, which is so deadly that two milligrams can kill 100 people.

Parsing the numbers between illegal and legal opioids, the analysis finds that deaths from prescription opioids rose about 10.6%, while heroin deaths rose by almost 20%. The increased deaths were also found to be concentrated in 10 states, which saw synthetic opioid-related deaths double.

The CDC released this analysis in response to the spending bill passed by Congress a week ago. The bill budgets $3.3 billion to combat the growing opioid epidemic. The money is likely going to expanding treatment options, according to lawmakers.

How intelligently the $3.3 billion will be spent remains to be seen, considering Kellyanne Conway—who Trump has entrusted with solving the opioid crisis—encouraged college students to buy french fries instead of fentanyl.

“On our college campuses, your folks are reading the labels, they won't put any sugar in their body, they don't eat carbs anymore, and they're very, very fastidious about what goes into their body,” Conway said. “And then you buy a street drug for $5 or $10, it's laced with fentanyl, and that's it.”

The president himself has floated another solution to the opioid crisis: executing drug dealers.

“The president makes a distinction between those that are languishing in prison for low-level drug offenses and the kingpins hauling thousands of lethal doses of fentanyl into communities, that are responsible for many casualties in a single weekend,” Conway explained.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter