The overdose crisis in the United States has reached historic levels according to experts. The crisis is fueled by fentanyl, as well as other opioids. In the U.S. more than 1,500 people die from opioids per week, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. How did the problem start and what is being done to combat it?
States across the U.S. are battling drug abuse that has reached historic levels. In 2022, drug overdoses claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people. The CDC is predicting a rise in overdose deaths this year across 28 states.
Fentanyl, the drug which has come to define the current crisis, is exponentially more potent than heroin. Analysts say the increased appetite for opiods can be traced back to doctors overprescribing legal pain medications. The problem has, however, intensified due to the influx of cheap synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and now some fentanyl is being mixed with powerful animal sedatives, making the drug even deadlier.
New York and Texas are among states grappling with the opioid epidemic and are trying different ways to combat it. New York is pursuing a harm reduction strategy in addition to tackling mental health issues. While Texas recently passed a law allowing its prosecutors to charge fentanyl suppliers with murder.
It remains to be seen whether either strategy will be effective.
Impact of fentanyl among young adults
Appro was found to be responsible for the overdose deaths of 80% of people under the age of 24 in 2021. Opioid-involved cases increased nearly sixfold between 2015-2021.
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