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Fentanyl Becomes #1 Cause of Death for Those Aged 18-45, Record Decline in Drug and Alcohol Use Among Teens, and Fentanyl Tests for Only $1
Here is a recap of some of the top industry-related news stories of the week:
Fentanyl overdoses become No. 1 cause of death among US adults, ages 18-45: 'A national emergency'
Government data reveals that the number of deaths caused by fentanyl have surged to the point that it is now the number one cause of death for those aged 18-45.
Between 2020 and 2021, nearly 79,000 people between 18 and 45 years old (37,208 in 2020 and 41,587 in 2021) died of fentanyl overdoses. This is higher than any other leading cause of death, including COVID-19, motor vehicle accidents, cancer, and suicide.
The DEA states that Mexico and China are the main sources of fentanyl coming into the United States.
"This is a national emergency. America’s young adults — thousands of unsuspecting Americans — are being poisoned," James Rauh, founder of Families Against Fentanyl, said in a statement. "It is widely known that illicit fentanyl is driving the massive spike in drug-related deaths. A new approach to this catastrophe is needed."
Fentanyl deaths doubled from 32,754 fatalities to 64,178 fatalities in two years between April 2019 and April 2021.
Drug and alcohol use among US teens saw record decline in 2021, survey finds
An annual survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found the largest single-year drop in rates of use for substances like alcohol, marijuana, and vaped nicotine in teens since the survey began in 1975.
While researchers say the reasons behind the decline in substance use is still unclear, it may be "one unexpected potential consequence of the pandemic," Richard Miech, principal investigator of the study.
"A lot of kids were at home learning remotely," Miech said. "So they weren't exposed to peer pressure at school. Schools are often a source for many kids to get their drugs, so they couldn't have that either. And then there were fewer parties, fewer opportunities to hang out with peers unsupervised by parents. All those things together really led to a drop in availability of drugs and opportunities."
There are speculations that the decrease in beginning to use drugs and alcohol by teens will have effects on their use later in life. Miech said that it's possible the delayed onset of drug use will reduce these adolescents’ levels of drug use in the future.
This strip of paper can help prevent a drug overdose
Strips of paper can detect fentanyl and help reduce the risk of overdose. The strips were first used for fentanyl detection in urine, but they can also be used to test a drug supply.
The strips cost less than $1, are available on Amazon, and are easy to use. The paper strip can be dipped into a solution made by mixing a bit of drug with water. It can show results in a matter of minutes: one line means positive for fentanyl, two lines, negative.
The test strips give users a chance to pause and think about what they are using and how to protect themselves.
Drug checking, whether with fentanyl test strips or chemical reagents to test for MDMA, bath salts or LSD, has been utilized in Europe since the 1990s and is starting to find greater practice in the United States.
This past April, the Biden administration allowed federal grant money to be used to purchase fentanyl test strips for the first time.
“We must do all we can to save lives from drug overdoses,” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
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