The Fentanyl Pandemic: Why Americans Should Be Concerned
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain medication that is much stronger than other opioid drugs such as morphine or oxycodone. It is often used illicitly because it is cheap to produce and can be mixed with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, to increase their potency.
The use of fentanyl has contributed to a significant increase in opioid overdose deaths in the United States in recent years, leading to what has been referred to as the "fentanyl pandemic." The number of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) increased from 3,105 in 2013 to 31,335 in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Fentanyl is a highly potent drug that can be dangerous when used improperly. It is typically prescribed in very small doses, and even a small amount can be lethal if misused. Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, which can increase the risk of overdose. It is also sometimes sold on the street as a cheaper alternative to other opioid drugs.
The proliferation of fentanyl in the illicit drug market is a major public health concern, and Americans should be aware of the risks associated with using the drug or coming into contact with it. If you have been prescribed fentanyl, it is important to follow your healthcare provider's instructions carefully and to store the medication securely to prevent accidental overdose or misuse. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to opioids or any other substance, it is important to seek help from a qualified healthcare professional or a substance abuse treatment program.