Fentanyl deaths on the rise among teens—especially Black teens

Fentanyl overdose deaths tripled among teens—and surged five-fold among Black teens—over the past two years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A February 14, 2022 article in Medical Xpress noted that users often don’t know that the drugs they’re taking contain fentanyl. The synthetic opioid is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin.

“The risk with fentanyl isn’t just addiction or other side effects—it’s simply death,” said Michael Barnett, assistant professor of health policy and management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Overdose deaths are also on the rise among Black men, and the rate of increase far outpaces any other racial group, according to the article.

Said Barnett, “This is the same story that plays out for almost every other major health disparity that emerges between racial communities. And COVID-19 has kind of blown it apart and just magnified what was already happening.”

He added, “We know that Black populations are particularly underserved when it comes to mental health services and addiction services. So there’s less economic, clinical, social resilience to be able to push back against more of these drugs coming into that community.”

Read the Medical Xpress article: Teenage fentanyl deaths are soaring, and Black teens are hit hardest