Mortality in children under 14 from fentanyl is on the rise

NEW YORK (NewsNation) – Children under 14 are dying from fentanyl poisoning faster than any other age group, according to a new report from Families Against Fentanyl, a non-profit organization that spreads awareness about the deadly opioid.

Between 2019 and 2021, synthetic opioid deaths due to fentanyl poisoning among U.S. children under 14 increased faster than any other age group in the U.S., according to a FAF analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between 2019 and 2021, infant mortality from fentanyl increased twice as fast. According to the FAF, fentanyl deaths among toddlers aged 1 to 4 years have more than tripled, and deaths among children aged 5 to 14 have almost quadrupled.

In many cases, the drug is swallowed without the knowledge of the person. People take pills – for example, at parties – without knowing that the pills are fake and heavily laced with fentanyl.

People who make the illegal version of the synthetic drug can make it look like anything, including candy, and fentanyl mixes easily with drugs like cocaine and heroin.

The CDC has approved the use of fentanyl test strips, a product originally designed to test for fentanyl in urine after a person has already digested the drug, The Wall Street Journal reports. Some states are trying to decriminalize them. Test strips are considered drug paraphernalia in some states, counties, and cities, making them illegal.

“Even with these fentanyl test strips that can tell you there is fentanyl in a product, but not necessarily how much, so people are playing Russian roulette with their lives when they take these illegal products,” said Dr. Wilson Compton. with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it is not actively regulating test strips that test illegal drugs for fentanyl, placing the burden of sifting the market on buyers. Test strip suppliers must manage a confusing regulatory regime, and increased demand for test strips has led to increased competition in the test strip market.

Two milligrams of mosquito-sized fentanyl is enough to kill an adult human. The CDC said more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2021, and more than 65,000 of those deaths were linked to fentanyl.

Americans aged 25 to 44 accounted for 53.2% of total US fentanyl deaths in 2021.

Fentanyl poisoning continued to be the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18 to 45 in 2021. Americans aged 35 to 44 are more likely to die from fentanyl poisoning than any other 10-year-old age group.

Drug rehabilitation counselors encourage parents to talk to their children about drug use, the dangers and potentially deadly consequences.

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