Fentanyl deaths overwhelm US morgues
In the past month, three teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 from the same Texas County died of suspected fentanyl overdoses.
Hays County School Independent District (CSID) Eric Wright, Ph.D., issued an alert to the school community on Tuesday after the third Hays CSID student died of fentanyl poisoning this month.
“I¡¯m worried,” Wright said in a letter to the school district. “We take all safety and security issues very seriously, but this one is especially concerning. So far ¨C and I am deeply grateful ¨C we haven¡¯t lost a single student to COVID or gun violence on our campuses. Both of these issues have rightfully been pressing matters the past couple of years. We must treat the fentanyl crisis with the same urgency.”
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The superintendent says Hays CSID is also aware of a half-dozen instances in which students, some of whom were as young as middle schoolers, have experienced life-threatening overdoses since the start of summer. His announcement comes amid record fentanyl poisoning deaths in Texas and across the United States.
Blue, counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid.
“Quite often, in cases involving fentanyl, people who take the drug have no idea they are taking it,” Wright said in a letter to the school district. “Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is often the ingredient used in counterfeit pills purchased on the street ¨C sold as something else like Xanax, Percocet, or oxycodone. In the drug trade, fentanyl is a cheap alternative to other synthetic opioids and it takes so very little to kill.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is deadly in small doses and is more frequently found in recreational drugs, though some illicit drug manufacturers and cartels have pressed fentanyl into pills made to look like prescription painkillers.
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The most prominent fentanyl-laced pills in Hays County area are counterfeit, blue oxycodone M30 tablets, according to the Kyle Police Department.
There are also growing concerns in Texas and elsewhere about rainbow fentanyl, which are multi-colored counterfeit pills containing fentanyl that resemble candy.
There are growing concerns in Texas and elsewhere about rainbow fentanyl, which are multi-colored counterfeit pills containing fentanyl that resemble candy.
(Northern District of West Virginia)
Wright encouraged parents to talk to their children and reach out to school nurses with questions about fentanyl.
A record 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses and poisonings last year, largely driven by synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An analysis of CDC data released in December 2021 by the fentanyl awareness group Families Against Fentanyl found that illicit fentanyl poisoning was the No. 1 cause of death for American adults between the ages of 18 and 45 last year.
Southern border seizures of the drug have soared in recent years. Customs and Border Protection seized 10,586 pounds of the drug in FY 2021. That is up from 4,558 pounds seized in FY 2020 and 2,633 pounds seized in FY 2019. China and Mexico are the primary sources for fentanyl manufacturing and trafficking into the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Fentanyl is deadly in small doses and is more frequently found in recreational drugs, though some illicit drug manufacturers and cartels have pressed fentanyl into pills made to look like prescription painkillers.
(Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA))
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While it remains unclear how much fentanyl is entering the U.S., since that number refers to apprehensions of the drug only, the number of deaths related to the drug is increasing. The Drug Enforcement Administration warned earlier this year of a “nationwide spike” in fentanyl-related overdoses.
Experts suggest households have Narcan ¡ª a medicine used to treat narcotic overdoses ¡ª on hand to save those who ingest too much fentanyl.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for Fox News Digital and FOX Business. Email tips firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @audpants.