组织, 与数百名受阿片类药物危机影响的个人保持定期沟通, 致信卫生与公众服务部 (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky on May 10, which the Drug Enforcement Administration (给) designated as National Fentanyl Awareness Day for the first time this year.
The letter calls on Becerra and Walensky to “publish usable provisional fentanyl fatality data within six weeks of death,” noting that a current six-month lag prevents experts “from anticipating coming trends, and from responding appropriately to the existing situation.”
Families Against Fentanyl is asking the Biden administration to track fentanyl poisoning and overdose deaths — including suspected overdose deaths — in the same way it tracked COVID-19 deaths.
The group is also encouraging the administration to publish data on the number of times naloxone, a life-saving medication that reverses the effects of fentanyl poisoning, saves a life, as well as data on non-fatal fentanyl poisonings.
“The danger of it is unbelievable. The cost of manufacture is super cheap. And we’re trying to stop the fentanyl poisoning of Americans,” Jim Rauh, founder of Families Against Fentanyl, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “We’re trying to have influence over the CDC to be able to derive the data in real–time to see exactly what’s happening. This has become the number one killer of 18 to 45-year-olds, and that demographic is widening. We should be able to see what that is.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be deadly even in very small amounts, and other drugs — including heroin, meth and marijuana — can be laced with the dangerous drug. Mexico and China are the primary sources for the flow of fentanyl into the United States, according to the DEA.
Drug traffickers are increasingly mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs to drive addiction and create repeat customers, 据专家介绍.
“We’ve been seeing counterfeit pills. [Fentanyl traffickers] buy pill presses, so it looks exactly like a Zanzibar or Xanax,” 博士说. Roneet Lev, an emergency room physician and former chief medical officer of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “And people think that’s what they’re buying, but they’re buying it not from a pharmacy. And there’s no Xanax in there. There’s fentanyl, and they’ve seen it even in marijuana products, vaping products. 所以真的, anywhere people get drugs outside a pharmacy, they are at risk for fentanyl.”
Families Against Fentanyl first reported CDC data showing that fatal fentanyl poisonings surged to the leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 和 45 之间 2020 和 2021. 几乎 79,000 people between 18 和 45 years old — 37,208 在 2020 和 41,587 在 2021 — died of fentanyl overdoses in that time frame.
我们. overdose deaths have doubled in 30 states over the past two years. 美国. 记录超过 100,000 overdose deaths between May 2020 到四月 2021. 过度 64% of those overdose deaths are due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl and its analogs, 根据疾病控制和预防中心 (CDC).
Between November 2020 和十一月 2021, 多于 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in the U.S. 周围 66% of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl, though many people who do overdose were not aware they were taking fentanyl.
Victims, many of whom are minors or young adults, have died from ingesting fentanyl in illicit pills marketed as Xanax and other non-lethal drugs but which contain the dangerous opioid unbeknownst to buyers. Among teenagers, 我们. fentanyl deaths tripled over two years. Deaths among Black teenagers in the U.S. increased five-fold. Reports suggest some victims may be purchasing illicit drugs and pills containing the opioid on social media apps like Snapchat.
“Now we’re seeing kids, middle-school-age, dying like crazy, and they’re in no way doing anything other than experiment,” said Rauh, who lost his own son to fentanyl poisoning in 2015. “These aren’t drug users. These are just innocent people who are being allured to the temptation of risk for … excitement, like any young person does. And so we’re pushing the government to give us real-time data so they can’t ignore what’s happening to us.”
He noted that the crisis is costing taxpayers “trillions of dollars.”
Rauh’s son, 汤玛士, was instantly poisoned from fentanyl manufactured in China. 美国. government indicted the organization that manufactured the fentanyl responsible for Thomas’s poisoning, but it now operates in Mexico “with the Chinese government’s knowledge and assistance,” according to Rauh.
Only two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a “potentially lethal dose,” and is particularly dangerous for someone who does not have a tolerance to opioid according to the DEA.
The number of pills seized by law enforcement increased almost 50-fold from the first quarter of 2018 to the last quarter of 2021, with pills representing over a quarter of illicit fentanyl seizures by the end of 2021. Seizures of fentanyl powder also increased from 657 pounds to about 5,326 磅, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Emergency room doctors are seeing the impact of record fentanyl poisoning deaths and overdoses first-hand.
“I’m an emergency physician, and I’m going into work today, and I’ll … treat somebody who has an opioid use disorder and treat their addiction or treat their overdose and be lucky to do so because our medical examiners here in San Diego see two-and-a-half deaths a day from fentanyl,” 博士. Lev said. “So I’m very jealous of the consorted effort that we’ve had on COVID, an infectious disease. And I would very much want to see the same type of methodology, 方法, focus data on the issue of overdoses.”
Lev added that she has not seen a single fentanyl overdose patient who did not “start with marijuana,” which is why she is calling for better education about the harmful effects of drugs and other prevention efforts in schools and communities.
Rauh, Lev and some members of Congress are also calling on the administration to label fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) in order to strengthen punishments for entities and individuals who distribute the drug.
“I think they should declare this a weapon of mass destruction immediately,” Rauh said, “and have our military intelligence go after them. We can break the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act and go after the perpetrators in other countries. We can seize money. We can stop ships at sea. We can have a real effect on the supply.”
He also added that schools should be educating children about the dangers of the drug and carrying Narcan, or noloxone, in the event of an emergency. 在一月, 一个 13-year-old Connecticut boy died after being exposed to fentanyl at a middle school.
关于 30,000 people have signed a petition from Families Against Fentanyl calling on the U.S. government to designate the drug as a WMD.
福克斯新闻’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.