TIPP Insights: America’s Fentanyl epidemic

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By: tippinsights Editorial Board, TIPP Insights

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is a dangerous drug; even two milligrams can be lethal depending on body size and tolerance. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. A kilogram of Fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people. The drug is more addictive than heroin and can cause dependence.

A UCLA study found that Fentanyl-related deaths among American teenagers aged 14 to 18 increased by 168%, from 253 in 2019 to 680 in 2020. In 2021, Fentanyl accounted for 77% of all teen overdose deaths. The study used CDC data for statistical analysis. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the study last week.

The researchers highlighted Fentanyl contamination of illegal drugs. Fentanyl is mixed with drugs such as heroin, Xanax, or cocaine to boost their euphoric effects. Many people overdose on the drug without even realizing they are using it.

Fentanyl overdosing triggers stupor, cold, clammy, and blue skin. It can also trigger respiratory failure leading to death or a coma.

Awareness

To gauge an understanding of Fentanyl’s awareness and the extent of the problem, we probed the 1,305 American adults in our April Golden/TIPPPoll. We posed the question: Do you know of an acquaintance, friend, or family member who died because of Fentanyl?

One in five (21%) said they knew an acquaintance, friend, or family member who died because of Fentanyl.

By age demographic, the 25 to 44 age group is most likely to know of someone who died from Fentanyl. The 65+ age group is the least likely.

By Race

One in five (19%) White and 19% of Black said they knew of someone who died from a Fentanyl overdose. But, one in three Hispanics (34%) reported knowledge of Fentanyl-related death.

Porous Borders

One byproduct of uncontrolled illegal immigration on the southern border is the spike in drug smuggling. The U.S. Border Patrol has reported significant increases in Fentanyl seizures. The USBP seized 4,791 pounds of Fentanyl in 2020 and 11,201 pounds in 2021, an increase of 134%.

President Biden’s neglect of the U.S. border is a big reason for the rise in lethal drugs coming into the country. Last year, Arizona reported that Fentanyl was the leading cause of teen deaths in border counties of the state, higher than auto accidents.

Biden Grades

Only one in four gives President Biden good grades for preventing Fentanyl entry into the country. The distribution of grades:

  • 13% saw his performance deserving an A grade for excellent,
  • 12% gave a B grade,
  • 16% rated him an average C,
  • 15% gave a D for poor,
  • 22% failed him with an F,
  • 22% were not sure.

By party, 45% of Democrats think President Biden is doing a good job preventing Fentanyl entry. Over two-thirds (68%) of Republicans give him a D or F. Four in ten (41%) of Independents give Biden a failing grade.

Fentanyl contamination is a real problem.  Parents need to educate kids about the high risks of casual drug use.

Fentanyl, creeping through the porous borders, is slipping into our communities’ bloodstreams. As our data shows, 20% of Americans have first-hand knowledge of losing someone due to the killer opioid. President Biden must adopt stricter policies to stem illegal immigration. Controlling illegal immigration would result in lesser smuggling of drugs like Fentanyl.

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