The Shadow Pandemic: Fentanyl Becomes #1 Killer In America For 18 to 45 Year Olds


A new analysis released from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the number-1 killer for American adults aged 18 to 45 is drug overdoses - primarily Fentanyl. This vastly outnumbers the number of deaths from COVID-19 for this demographic. Respective data was examined over the past year in which small doses of fentanyl have slowly been decriminalized in various states across the U.S. and used in additional medications with the primary objective of numbing extreme pain but killing more than 100,000 people within the span of a year. “Statistics indicate that there were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during the 12-month period ending in April 2021; an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the year before. The new data documents that estimated overdose deaths from opioids increased to 75,673 in the 12-month period ending in April 2021, up from 56,064 the year before.” Over 42,600 people had died of fentanyl overdose in the first five months of 2021 - an increase of more than 1,000 fentanyl deaths per month compared to the same time period in 2020.


The National Center for Drug Abuse and Statistics (NCDAS) corroborates this data, proclaiming that drug overdose deaths in the United States are up 30% each year, with nearly 1-million deaths from overdoses since 1999. Figures suggest that over 4 times as many people died from drugs than from homicide during January of 2021, a large majority being opioids.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, leads the way. It takes just two milligrams to kill a single person and less than 0.25 milligrams can place users at a high risk. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), one kilogram (2.2 lbs.) of fentanyl can kill up to 500,000 people. This is incredibly alarming, given that the amount of seized fentanyl at the U.S. Southern border has doubled over the past year. Between October 2020 to September 2021, Customs and Border P​rotection officials seized over 11,000 pounds; enough to kill the entire population of the United States 8 times over.


Rates from Opioid Overdoses from 1990, 2000, 2010, 2017


Outside of drug cartels and smugglers who operate from South of the U.S., many are directing blame at China for the mass-manufacturing of fentanyl. President Joe Biden issued an executive order earlier this week, authorizing sanctions against any foreigner engaged in illicit drug trafficking or production. It reads, “I find that international drug trafficking — including the illicit production, global sale, and widespread distribution of illegal drugs; the rise of extremely potent drugs such as fentanyl and other synthetic opioids; as well as the growing role of Internet-based drug sales — constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” This was aimed specifically toward China, who responded angrily by announcing that the United States was shifting the blame for their own on-going opioid problems. Many are even under the impression that China is intentionally utilizing fentanyl as a weapon against the United States. Read more on China’s response here.


Families Against Fentanyl (FAF), has been one of the leading voices against Fentanyl usage in the United States. In their research encapsulating deaths for this period, they had discovered that among the 100,000 who died of fentanyl overdoses this year, nearly 80% of those were between the ages of 18 and 45. This age demographic has less than a 0.2% chance of dying from the Coronavirus. Meanwhile an estimated 3.8% of American adults abuse opioids each year.




Many are calling it the shadow pandemic, eclipsed by the dominating coverage for COVID-19 during these past two years. Other areas for concern the coronavirus pandemic has overshadowed include increases in domestic abuse, depression and suicide, school attendance/passing rates, and other growing nation-wide problems. According to a Morbidity and Morality Report released at the start of the pandemic, more than 25% of Americans had considered killing themselves by June of 2020 - caused by the impact of new social guidelines meant to mitigate the spread of the virus. Thousands of students across the United States have also reportedly “fallen off the grid” amid the Coronavirus pandemic, according to ABC. These are among some of the many triggers for Americans who are concerned the economic repercussions of the pandemic may have unintended results worse than the virus itself.


For more information:

Fentanyl Abuse Statistics - NCDAS (drugabusestatistics.org)

Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl in the US - Families Against Fentanyl

Facts about Fentanyl (dea.gov)

Fentanyl DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Fentanyl Facts (cdc.gov)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (cbp.gov)

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