Fentanyl fuels sharp rise in teenage overdose deaths across the United States

WASHINGTON DC  – A deadly crisis is gripping American teenagers as the number of overdose deaths has doubled in just three years, while overall drug and alcohol use by teens has reached historic lows. According to an alarming report by The Hill, many teens are unknowingly experimenting with lethal illicit drugs which are laced with fentanyl. Teens often believe they are getting drugs they consider safe–prescription medication or marijuana. 

Several parents have talked about losing their children in this way on the Emily’s Hope Podcast, Grieving Out Loud.

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analyzed by The Hill, revealed that deaths from drugs and alcohol among children aged 15 to 19 surged from 788 in 2018 to a shocking 1,755 in 2021, marking a grim milestone in the country’s public health crisis.

Disturbingly, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that deaths from black-market fentanyl and related synthetics have risen more than twenty-fold between 2010 and 2021, from 38 to 884, making it the leading cause of overdose deaths among American teenagers.

Benzodiazepines, a class of depressants, caused 152 deaths in 2021, a fraction of fentanyl’s toll, making it the second leading cause of adolescent overdose deaths.

The rampant misuse of fentanyl is fueling a massive spike in the number of drug overdose deaths in the United States, which more than doubled in just six years, from 52,404 in 2015 to a staggering 106,699 in 2021. This is a call to action for lawmakers and communities across the country to prioritize the urgent need to address the opioid epidemic and prevent the loss of more young lives.