The Fentanyl Crisis

Fentanyl overdose deaths are on the rise. What can we do about the fentanyl crisis?


   According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, there is a new cause of death of people ages 18-45. It’s a strong, extremely addictive opioid called fentanyl. Invented in 1959, its intention was an anesthetic and pain reliever without the common side effect of nausea. 

  “It is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin,” Denver Channel said.

   Although fentanyl is rapidly becoming more and more popular and overdoses are on the rise, this drug wasn’t common in the United States until 2015. Since fentanyl is a synthetic drug, or a chemical-based drug, it is much cheaper to produce compared to other natural drugs. Because of the intensity of the fentanyl, it requires far less to become high.

   “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.

This chart created Google Spreadsheets shows the fentanyl overdose mortalities compared to other common causes of deaths.

   In April of 2021, this deadly drug took the lives of 40,010 Americans. This is more than car accidents, suicide, cancer, and COVID-19, in a singular month.

   Above is a chart created via Google Charts to accurately represent the fentanyl mortalities compared to other common reasons of death. 

   Clearly, fentanyl is rapidly taking over the world of drugs. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, approximately 75 percent cocaine overdose deaths were mixed-use with fentanyl. Similarly, around 50 percent of methamphetamine deaths were mixed-use as well.

  Although an overdose is an extremely frightening situation, if someone is experiencing an overdose, time is precious. The best thing to do if you’re witnessing someone overdose, is to call 911 and administer Narcan. According to Minutes Matter, Narcan, also known as Naloxone, temporarily stops the effects of opioids to keep the person conscious and breathing.

   When administering Narcan, tilt the person’s head back and insert the Narcan spray into one nostril. Quickly give the bottle a firm push and roll the person onto their side. Then continue to watch the overdose victim until medical help arrives. 

   If you or someone you love are suffering from a drug addiction, you are not alone. Get help and call the substance abuse hotline at 1-800-662- HELP (4357).