According to reports, the deadly drug fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45. Originally created in 1959, fentanyl became part of popular discourse over the last six years as drug dealers have turned to it as a cutting agent for other drugs, primarily heroin.
Per ABC affiliate The Denver Channel,
In 2015, however, fentanyl started to make its way into the United States in noticeable doses. As a synthetic drug, it is cheaper to produce than drugs like heroin, which require cultivation. Because of its potency, people require far less fentanyl to get high. In the years since, drug dealers started using fentanyl as a cheap substitute to cut their drugs and stretch them farther. Today, according to the CDC, fentanyl is the leading cause of death for adults ages 18-45 in the United States.
“We are in the worst overdose crisis we’ve ever been in in the United States,” said Lisa Raville, executive director of the Harm Reduction Action Center in Denver. “In a magical world there would be no drugs, but we live here.”
According to statistics from April 2021, fentanyl killed 40,010 Americans ages 18-45. That’s more than car accidents (22,442), suicide (21,678), COVID (21,335), and cancer (17,114).
“We have public health evidence-based interventions that we can be doing today for healthier and safer communities,” said Raville. “For example, when we talk about prevention, we need to talk about harm reduction and realistic education to teens.”