One hundred seven thousand people in America have died due to the fentanyl crisis and drug overdose in 2022, enough people to fill Michigan Stadium, the largest stadium in North America.
Of those people recorded in statistical data, 107,000 of those 70,000 died due to fentanyl.
The Fentanyl crisis is the most significant health threat facing the United States.
It is a crisis growing out of control, linked to multiple factors such as the over-prescription of fentanyl for pain relief and modern technologies such as social media affecting people’s communication abilities and further exacerbation by modern living.
Here is the definition of Fentanyl, also spelt fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic piperidine opioid drug primarily used as an analgesic.
Because fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, its primary clinical utility is in pain management for cancer patients and those recovering from painful surgical operations.
The Tripling of Fentanyl Deaths
According to an article published in REUTERS, data from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention shows that fentanyl-related deaths from drug overdoses increased from 5.7 per 100,000 people in 2016 to 21.6 per 100,000 in 2021.
The crisis is getting so severe that during Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to Congress, he stated that Republicans and Democrats united in their support for ending the fentanyl crisis, with President Biden getting a standing ovation.
There is a transcript of Biden’s speech on the fentanyl crisis.
Joe Biden, President of the United States of America: ‘So let’s launch a major search to stop fentanyl production in the sale and trafficking more drug detection machines inspecting cargo at the board’.
My apologies if reading Joe Biden’s words does not make much sense. I state this because I watched the address and found it hard to listen to what he was saying, most likely due to his deteriorating mental health, allegedly from Alzheimer’s.
The Origins of Fentanyl and The Growing Crisis
Fentanyl was first created in 1959 by Dr. Paul Janssen; it was initially marketed as an analgesic drug under multiple formats as a patch, lollipop or spray.
The first cases of drug overdose using fentanyl and the beginning of the fentanyl crisis were discovered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the early 1990s, starting in Wichita, Kansas and has since been a growing crisis, becoming a cancer within the USA.
In the early 2000s and 2005, the American police force and other law enforcement agencies were cracking down on the internal manufacturing of fentanyl illegally.
Unfortunately, they discovered that the drugs were being imported from outside of the USA from Mexico and China.
The DEA says the powerful Jalisco and Sinaloa cartels smuggle most of the fentanyl that crosses the border. It’s hidden in vehicles, by individuals, or in cross-border tunnels.
In addition to blaming China and Mexico, Republicans blame President Biden for failing to secure the border.
It is impractical for the United States to build a wall across the border with Mexico, which is 954 miles (3,145 km).
The border between the United States and Mexico traverses a variety of terrains, including urban areas and deserts.
The border from the Gulf of Mexico to El Paso, Texas, follows along the Rio Grande, forming a natural barrier.
This means there needs to be a political settlement with Mexico that destroys the cartels. If the situation has deteriorated too much with Mexico, the United States may need to consider military action or the incorporation of Mexico into the union.
Fentanyl Crisis: Who is it Affecting and Why
Overdose victims have risen for over 20 years, with fentanyl being the key reason. Currently, almost 70% of all fatalities in the United States are due to the use of fentanyl, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Another shattering fact is that fentanyl is behind 80% of deaths of 15 to 24-year-olds in the USA; this drug damages America’s youth.
Currently, as of writing this article, fentanyl has killed five times as many Americans who died fighting in the Vietnam War, and with the fatality rate for using fentanyl being over 70%, it is a critical factor of why so many Americans are dying even though the drug makes up only 13% of illegal drug use.
The reason why fentanyl is becoming more widespread is because of how potent the drug is.
1 kg of fentanyl can create 1 million counterfeit pills that can then be passed off as another hallucinogenic substance.
It is even distributed as oxycodone, a pain killer for which people do not need a prescription, which increases the chance of becoming addicted to fentanyl.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the increase in fentanyl use reflects the potency of this substance and its low production cost, which gives traffickers strong incentives to mix fentanyl with herring and other drugs and narcotics available on American streets.
The production process of fentanyl also requires specialised equipment and expertise.