Fentanyl is number one on Americans’ minds. “In second place on the list of public health problems was obesity. Meanwhile, the threat of people’s access to guns faded to third place on the list, with 20% of people citing the concern, down from 26% who cited guns as a public health threat in May. Cancer trailed in fourth place, with 11% of people mentioning the disease.” — WebMD
““We’re finding that six out of every 10 pills have a deadly amount of fentanyl…It only takes two milligrams to kill somebody.” — DEA
“Drug overdose death rates were higher in 2021 than in 2020 for all age groups 25 and over.” Although the rates for seniors were lower, the percentages were higher. — CDC
President Joe Biden’s drug czar has declared that the use of fentanyl mixed with Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer known as “tranq,” has become an emerging threat across the United States. The use of this drug combination has been linked to a sharp increase in overdose deaths, and the government is required to develop a federal plan to address the crisis. This declaration by Dr. Rahul Gupta, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, marks the first time a presidential administration has formally labeled an illicit drug an “emerging threat” and then required the federal government to take further action.
What is fentanyl mixed with Xylazine, and why is it a problem?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is often mixed with other drugs to increase its potency. Xylazine is a veterinary sedative approved for use in animals, but not for human use.
When mixed with fentanyl and sold on the illicit drug market, it has caused a sharp increase in overdose deaths across the United States. Xylazine, which is not an opioid, cannot be counteracted by the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone, in case of an overdose.The spread of Xylazine-laced fentanyl has exacerbated the nationwide addiction crisis, ravaging communities and deepening the toll of addiction.
Why is this an emerging threat?
The federal government has reported that overdose deaths involving Xylazine have risen in every region of the country in recent years. From 2020 to 2021, Xylazine-linked deaths increased more than 1,000% in the South, 750% in the West, and more than 500% in the Midwest, according to a DEA report (DEA Report). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 66% of drug poisoning deaths in the United States involve synthetic opioids like fentanyl (CDC).
What actions will the federal government take?
The declaration by Dr. Gupta requires the Biden administration to develop a federal plan to address the crisis. The government must publish a response plan within 90 days and send implementation guidance to agencies within 120 days, among other actions. The federal government will be mindful that Xylazine has legitimate uses in the veterinary profession and the agriculture industry while working on a whole-of-government response.
What are the dangers of ingesting xylazine?
Xylazine is not approved for human use, and ingesting it can cause serious, life-threatening effects, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). People who inject it can develop flesh wounds, including blackened, rotting tissue (known as necrosis), which, if untreated, may result in amputation, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
In conclusion, the use of fentanyl mixed with Xylazine is an emerging threat facing the United States that has caused a sharp increase in overdose deaths. The federal government is required to develop a response plan to address this crisis, which includes evidence-based prevention, treatment, and supply reduction. It is important for parents to be aware of the dangers of drug use and to educate their children about the risks involved.
At the first Fountain Valley mayor’s breakfast of the year, held on March 30 at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital in Orange County, California, several local issues were discussed, including a recently established drug program in schools. The program, which was initiated last November, aims to prevent overdoses in youth by placing drug stations with naloxone, a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of opioids, in schools. The program comes in response to the growing number of children overdosing on fentanyl across the state and country.
Why is this program important?
The opioid crisis has become a major concern in many communities, and youth are particularly vulnerable to its effects. Illicit drugs laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, are increasingly being sold to unsuspecting youth, often through social media platforms. This has led to a rise in overdoses among young people, including in schools. The drug program in Fountain Valley schools aims to address this issue and provide a timely response to overdoses, potentially saving lives.
What does the program involve?
The program involves placing naloxone stations in each elementary school, middle school, and high school in the Fountain Valley area. These stations are equipped with naloxone, a medication that can quickly reverse the effects of opioids and prevent overdose deaths. The naloxone is administered through a nasal spray, making it easy to use by school staff or other trained personnel in case of an emergency. The program was initiated by the Fountain Valley Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services teams, in collaboration with city officials.
Success of the program
Since its implementation, the program has already proven successful in saving a student’s life. In January, a student at Ocean High School who had taken an unknown substance bought off the street that was laced with fentanyl was administered naloxone by a teacher, according to Fountain Valley Fire Department Chief Bill McQuaid. The timely treatment with naloxone, also known as Narcan, saved her life, highlighting the importance of having naloxone stations in schools.
Why is this program necessary?
Lauren Lee, a former emergency room nurse who developed the plan for the school stations and currently serves as the Emergency Medical Services manager for the city fire department, emphasizes the importance of the program for student safety. She notes that a growing number of kids, including those in elementary school and older, are buying illicit drugs from dealers on social media sites, often through platforms like Snapchat. These drugs are sometimes misrepresented as harmless, such as marijuana gummies, when in fact they are laced with dangerous opioids like fentanyl. The presence of naloxone stations in schools can provide a crucial intervention in case of an overdose, potentially saving lives.
In conclusion, the drug program implemented in Fountain Valley schools to prevent overdoses in youth is a timely and important initiative. With the opioid crisis affecting communities across the country, it’s crucial to have measures in place to address the growing number of overdoses, including among young people. The presence of naloxone stations in schools can provide a lifeline in case of an overdose, potentially saving lives and protecting the well-being of students. As the program continues to be implemented and expanded, it is hoped that the need for naloxone stations in schools will decrease in the future, reflecting a reduction in overdoses and improved awareness about the dangers of opioids among youth. In the meantime, the program serves as a valuable resource to protect the health and safety of students in Fountain Valley schools. So far, the program has already demonstrated success in saving lives, and its continued implementation and expansion are critical in addressing the ongoing opioid crisis and protecting our youth.Alexandra’s Law Fails in Senate Committee: What This Means for the Fentanyl Epidemic
Alexandra’s Law Fails in Senate Committee: What This Means for the Fentanyl Epidemic
On Tuesday, Senate Bill SB 44, also known as Alexandra’s Law, failed to pass in the Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill, jointly authored by Senators Umberg & Ochoa Bogh, proposed implementing a fentanyl admonishment in California to address the growing opioid crisis.
The bill required issuing a written advisory or admonishment to a person convicted of a fentanyl-related drug offense, informing them of the dangers of manufacturing and distributing controlled substances, and potential criminal liability if someone dies due to their actions. However, the bill did not pass the committee, though it was granted reconsideration for a later hearing.
Why Is Alexandra’s Law So Important?
Fentanyl is an opioid 50-100 times more potent than morphine, with a rapid onset and short duration of action. It has become increasingly prevalent in street drugs and has been responsible for thousands of deaths across the U.S.
California alone accounts for approximately 11.5% of the 101,751 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the U.S. in the 12-month period ending in October 2022 (CDC).
The impact of fentanyl is devastating, with youth under age 24 accounting for the fastest rise in drug deaths. In California, a young person under 24 is dying from fentanyl every 12 hours. The biggest factor attributing to this danger is the undisclosed addition of fentanyl to other drugs, leading to fentanyl poisoning and death.
Fentanyl is the lead killer of teens in Orange County and of individuals between the ages of 18-45 in the U.S.
What Would Alexandra’s Law Do?
The proposed law would require an admonishment to be issued to anyone convicted of a fentanyl-related drug offense. This written advisory would inform them of the dangers of manufacturing and distributing controlled substances and potential criminal liability if another person dies due to their actions. The goal of the law is to hold predatory dealers accountable for the destruction they are causing and deter people from trafficking fentanyl.
What Are the Consequences of Failing to Pass Alexandra’s Law?
The failure to pass Alexandra’s Law is a significant blow to efforts to address the fentanyl epidemic. Without a comprehensive approach, it is challenging to curb the increase in fentanyl-related deaths. The bill’s authors and supporters believe that the fentanyl crisis requires a multifaceted approach, including education, law enforcement, and harm reduction angles, to tackle the issue comprehensively.
What Can We Do?
While the failure of Alexandra’s Law is disappointing, we can still take action to address the fentanyl epidemic. Here are some things we can do:
- Spread awareness: Educate yourself and others about the dangers of fentanyl and how to recognize the signs of an overdose.
- Advocate for change: Contact your representatives and urge them to support legislation to address the fentanyl epidemic.
- Get help: If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, seek help from a healthcare professional or a support group.
The fentanyl epidemic is a growing problem that requires immediate action. While Alexandra’s Law may not have passed this time, we must continue to fight for solutions that will save lives and keep our communities safe.
FentanylSolution.org officially supported this bill with other important organizations such as the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, CA Coalition of School Safety Professionals, Drug Awareness Foundation, and California District Attorneys Association. The Mayors of Anaheim, Bakersfield, Corona, Irvine, Fontana, Fresno, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, Menifee, Norco, Perris, Riverside, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Stockton and Temecula also showed their support.
In addition, our President and CEO, Janice M. Celeste, was in Sacramento at the California State Capital to support this bill and the parents who have lost a child to fentanyl poisoning.Fentanyl: A Growing Threat to Public Health in the U.S.
Fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid, has emerged as a major public health threat in the United States. The drug is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and has been linked to a growing number of overdose deaths across the country. According to nationwide statistics from 2022, the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths has continued to rise, posing a significant challenge to public health officials and law enforcement agencies. Fentanyl is currently the number one killer of 18-to-45-year-olds, more than car accidents and COVID-19 (CDC).
The Rise Of Fentanyl
The rise of fentanyl can be traced back to the opioid epidemic, which began in the early 2000s with the widespread prescription of opioid painkillers. Over time, many people who became addicted to prescription opioids turned to cheaper and more readily available street drugs, including heroin and fentanyl. Today, fentanyl is one of the most common drugs involved in opioid overdoses, and its use has become a major contributor to the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States.
Deaths Are Increasing
In 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were over 47,000 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the United States, a significant increase from the previous year. This represents a staggering 67% of all opioid overdose deaths, making fentanyl the deadliest opioid in the country. The drug is particularly concerning because it is often mixed with other substances, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, increasing the risk of overdose.
The impact of fentanyl on communities across the United States has been significant. The drug is often sold on the black market and can be easily obtained, leading to widespread use and abuse. In addition, the potency of fentanyl makes it difficult to treat overdoses, and many people die within minutes of taking the drug.
What Is Being Done
In response to the growing threat of fentanyl, public health officials and law enforcement agencies have taken a number of steps to try and combat the drug’s spread. These measures include increased education and outreach efforts, improved access to addiction treatment and naloxone (a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose), and increased enforcement of laws and regulations aimed at preventing the illegal distribution of fentanyl.
Despite these efforts, the rise of fentanyl continues to pose a significant challenge to public health in the United States. To address this issue, it will be important to continue investing in education and outreach efforts, increasing access to addiction treatment, and taking steps to prevent the illegal distribution of the drug.
In addition to the growing use of illicit fentanyl, another major concern is the increasing prevalence of counterfeit pills containing the drug. These fake pills are often made to look like other prescription medications, such as Xanax or OxyContin, and are sold on the black market to unsuspecting consumers.
These counterfeit pills are particularly dangerous because they often contain unpredictable and potentially deadly amounts of fentanyl. The potency of the drug means that even a small amount can be fatal, and many people who take these fake pills are unaware of the danger they are putting themselves in.
According to nationwide statistics from 2022, the number of overdose deaths related to counterfeit pills containing fentanyl has increased dramatically in recent years. In many cases, these deaths have occurred in people who thought they were taking a different medication and were not aware that they were consuming fentanyl.
The rise of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl highlights the importance of using only medication obtained from a reputable source. It also underscores the need for continued efforts to crack down on the illegal production and distribution of these fake pills, as well as increased public education and outreach efforts aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of counterfeit drugs.
The increasing prevalence of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl is a growing public health concern in the United States. These fake pills are putting unsuspecting people at risk of overdose and death, and it is essential that steps are taken to prevent their spread and increase public awareness of the dangers they pose. To address this issue, it will be important to take a comprehensive approach that includes education, improved access to addiction treatment, and increased enforcement of laws and regulations aimed at preventing the spread of the drug.