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A Quick Breakdown of How Fentanyl Is Now the Leading Cause of Death for This Age Group

Fentanyl overdoses have become the leading cause of death for Americans age 18-45, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

SO WHAT

America’s drug problem deserves more attention.

THE NUMBERS

A recent analysis of CDC data by opioid awareness group Families Against Fentanyl put fentanyl poisoning atop the list of deadliest threats to younger adults for the first time, above suicide, COVID-19 and car accidents.

Fentanyl deaths have nearly doubled since 2019.

  • Meanwhile, CDC data released last month revealed another tragic first: More than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses in the 12 months before April
  • That was a spike of 29% compared to the preceding 12 months.
  • Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl accounted for more than 75 percent of the deaths.

“As we continue to make strides to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, we cannot overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country,” President Joe Biden said in a statement last month responding to the grim news.

THE CRITICISM

Republicans have slammed Biden’s handling of the overdose epidemic.

  • Last month, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa suggested the president’s immigration policies were to blame for fentanyl importation into the country.
  • “Welcome 2 Pres Biden’s America where 10,000 pounds of fentanyl hv been seized by Customs & Border patrol so far this fiscal yr which is enough to kill over 2 billion ppl or more than 1/4 of the world’s population,” Grassley tweeted on Nov. 1.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said on Twitter last week that Biden “needs to secure the border to stop the fentanyl from flowing into our communities.”

YES, BUT

Biden’s defenders have argued the large quantities of fentanyl seized at the border are evidence the system is working.

  • FactCheck.org noted last month that “officials seized nearly as much fentanyl in the last nine full months of Trump’s presidency as had been seized during the first nine full months of Biden’s.”

On the other hand, Biden has also taken flack from the left for his plan to permanently make fentanyl-related substances “Schedule I” drugs.

  • Progressive critics claim the policy, which was enacted as a temporary measure by the Trump administration, will disproportionately affect people of color.
  • “A classwide ban would not prevent overdose deaths, and it would exacerbate racist criminalization practices — while shifting attention away from much-needed harm reduction strategies that actually save people’s lives,” criminal justice reform activist Maya Schenwar wrote in an NBC News op-ed last month.

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