Families Against Fentanyl(FAF)– Families Against Fentanyl is releasing a new issue brief analyzing the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. While many health experts predicted that drug “overdose” and fentanyl fatalities would decrease after the pandemic, new data released this month from the CDC revealed that U.S. drug “overdose” deaths reached a new high in 2023.
FAF found that deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids also reached an all-time high. The CDC estimates that more than 111,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending in April – and more than 77,000 of those deaths involved fentanyl and other synthetic opioids other than methadone. Both are record highs and increases over the prior year.
FAF also found that fentanyl deaths are increasing at more than double the rate of overall drug overdose deaths. Overall U.S. overdose deaths increased by 1.7 percent in the year ending in April 2023 compared to the prior 12-month period, FAF found that illicit fentanyl and other synthetic opioid deaths increased by a greater margin of nearly 5 percent (4.9 percent), with some states seeing one-year increases of more than 50 percent (more than 10 times the national average). Additional findings and state-level data can be seen below and at this link.
In response to this troubling news, FAF, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of illicit fentanyl, is calling for President Biden to establish a White House Task Force dedicated to the nation’s illicit fentanyl poisoning and drug “overdose” crisis.
“This is alarming news and it should serve as a wake-up call to our leaders in Washington that more must be done – fast! We are calling on President Biden to immediately convene a White House task force dedicated to the overdose and fentanyl crisis that is taking so many American lives,” said FAF founder Jim Rauh, who lost his son to illicit fentanyl poisoning in 2015.
“For thousands of families across this country, this is a matter of life or death. We need someone in the West Wing who is accountable directly to the President for leading the government’s response to this crisis. We need regular public briefings and real-time data. Americans deserve to know what is being done to save lives, and what is being done to uncover and stop the international manufacturers and traffickers of illicit fentanyl.
This is the number one killer of our nation’s young adults. It is killing more and more children each year. There is nothing more valuable than our people. From one father to another, I’m urging President Biden to establish a White House task force immediately and demand emergency action,” added Rauh.
Key findings in FAF’s new issue brief:
Despite predicted decreases, overdose deaths and deaths from fentanyl poisoning reached all-time highs in 2023.
31 states and the District of Columbia saw more fentanyl and synthetic opioid deaths in 2023 than the year prior. 29 states saw more overdose deaths in 2023 than in the prior year, according to CDC estimates of fatalities through April 2023.
Nationwide fentanyl and synthetic opioid deaths increased at a higher rate than overall drug overdose deaths. Deaths due to fentanyl and synthetic opioids increased by nearly 5 percent (4.9 percent) compared to the prior year, more than double the rate of increase among overall overdose deaths (1.7 percent).
States with Highest Rate of Increase in Drug Deaths
Oregon and Washington state had the highest rate of increase in fatalities due to fentanyl poisoning (13x the national average) and drug overdose compared to the prior year.
Oregon had the highest rate of increase in fentanyl deaths in the nation with a one-year increase of more than 67 percent, compared to a national average of 5 percent. The state also ranked second highest in the nation for increases in overdose deaths overall, with an increase of 23 percent.
Washington state overdose deaths increased by over 34 percent, the highest one-year increase in the nation. Washington also ranked second highest in the nation for increases in fentanyl deaths, with an increase of 65 percent.
States with Highest Number of Fatalities
California, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina had the highest number of fentanyl and other synthetic opioid deaths in the 12-month period ending in April 2023.
California, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania suffered the most overall drug overdose deaths in the same 12-month period.
In December 2021, FAF released its groundbreaking finding that fentanyl was the number one cause of death among Americans ages 18 to 45. Fentanyl continues to be the number one cause of death of Americans 18 to 45 and the new data from the CDC shows deaths are continuing to increase.
FAF has brought together thousands of families and bipartisan leaders calling for innovative action to stop drug-related deaths and save other families from the nightmare of losing a loved one to fentanyl poisoning.
More than 80,000 people have signed on to FAF’s petition calling for the US to designate illicit fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction.
Bipartisan leaders including former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former CIA Director John Brennan joined with FAF to warn of the threat posed by illicit fentanyl and urged President Biden to designate illicit fentanyl and its analogues as weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Families Against Fentanyl is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the illicit fentanyl crisis and advocating for federal action. The organization was founded by James Rauh of Akron, Ohio after his son was killed by fentanyl poisoning in 2015. FAF has become a leading voice for fentanyl awareness, bringing together thousands of families and producing research cited by leaders across the US and the world.