Monday number: A closer look at the mounting toll of fentanyl on the nation’s youth

Last year, Policy Watch delved into the epidemic within the opioid epidemic: the terrifying rise of synthetic opioid fentanyl and staggering number of deaths it has caused in North Carolina and across the country.

This month a new analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by the nonprofit Families Against Fentanyl sheds new light on the ongoing crisis, particularly deaths among children 14 and under.

The group’s analysis found fentanyl deaths among that group are rising faster than any other, tripling nationwide in just two years from 2019 to 2021 (the last year for which full CDC data is available). Over the same period, fentanyl deaths among infants increased twice as fast as overall deaths.

Read the full article on NC Policy Watch.

Local activist appears at Raleigh anti-fentanyl event

Jan. 23—RALEIGH — A number of activists from across the country met in Raleigh on Saturday for an event meant to raise awareness of fentanyl, including Oxford’s Patricia Drewes.

“Children are going to experiment [with drugs], but they should not have to pay for that experiment with their lives,” Drewes said. “And that’s what is happening. That’s what is happening in this country … Our children are being murdered, and poisoned in broad open daylight on American soil. And something has to be done.

Read the full article on the Henderson Dispatch web site (subscription required) or on Yahoo News.

FBI probes Snapchat’s role in fentanyl poisoning deaths

Federal agencies are questioning Snapchat’s role in the spread and sale of fentanyl-laced pills in the United States as part of a broader investigation into the deadly counterfeit drug crisis.

FBI agents and Justice Department attorneys are zeroing in on fentanyl poisoning cases in which the sales were arranged to young buyers via Snapchat, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to discuss it publicly and requested anonymity. The agents have interviewed parents of children who died and are working to access their social media accounts to trace the suppliers of the lethal drugs, according to the people.

Read the full article on the LA Times web site.

Triangle families ask for more to protect lives from Fentanyl

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Mitchico Duff described her daughter as kind and loving. Two years ago, Duff said she tragically lost her daughter, 22-year-old Machiko La’deja Duff, from fentanyl.

“I don’t want another mom to feel the way I feel, this is a nightmare, this is torture…” said Duff while attending a fentanyl awareness event Saturday near Downtown Raleigh.

“It took us a year to really find out what happened,” the Johnston County mother added. “We knew it was drugs involved but we didn’t know to the extent of what.”

Read the full story on the WNCN CBS17 web site.

How much fentanyl seized in the Carolinas in 2022?

Enough to kill all living here.

This article is from the Raleigh N&O web site. You may need to login to see it there.


In the Carolinas last year, the Department of Homeland Security Investigations seized three times the amount of fentanyl capable of killing every resident in both states.

That amount is nearly 800% more than the federal agency seized in the two states in2020, and over 200% more than was found in2021, the agency reports.

The increase in fentanyl strikes fear into law enforcement and public health experts because it’s more potent and more dangerous than most drugs sold illegally. Just two milligrams can be a fatal dose, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. 

The drug increasingly takes lives in North Carolina.Fentanyl-related overdoses increased 30% from 2020 to 2021 in the state, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, meaning 3,163 North Carolinians died from the drug in 2021.

Last year, agents in the Carolinas helped seize 222 pounds of fentanyl, the majority of this was from North Carolina, said Michael Prado, the deputy special agent in charge at Homeland Security Investigations in Charlotte.

In 2021, the agency seized 100 pounds of the drug, and seized just 25 pounds of fentanyl in 2020, Prado said.

This year, Homeland Security investigators have prioritized the seizure of fentanyl because of its potency, Prado said.

”We have dedicated additional resources and personnel to combat this issue, resulting in more seizures and arrests,” Prado said.

This includes partnering with other law enforcement agencies to form a task force dedicated to cracking down on illegal activity coming through Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Fentanyl is “top priority”

One cartel is a major player in the trafficking of fentanyl to this region, Prado said in an email response to questions.

“Most of our cases in the Charlotte metro area involving the trafficking of fentanyl are focused on the illicit activities of the Cartel Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG),” he said. That’s a Mexican-based transnational drug trafficking organization with a well-established network in the Carolinas, he added.

“Previously, small amounts of fentanyl were smuggled into the U.S., predominantly from China, via mail and private shipping services,” Prado said.

The fentanyl making its way to the Carolinas often originates from clandestine labs run by illegal organizations in Mexico, Prado said. The DEA has tracked most fentanyl smuggling to illegal groups in China, with illegal cartels in Mexico and India also producing large quantities of the drug.

Fentanyl, originally developed to treat cancer patients’ pain, is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the DEA. It was originally created by Dr Paul Janssen, a Belgian chemist and founder of Janssen Pharmaceutica. It was then introduced to European countries before being approved by the FDA and sold in the U.S., according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Since fentanyl’s introduction to the opioid market, in the early 1960s, demand for the drug has skyrocketed because of its addictive qualities. Now fentanyl entering communities comes from a myriad of sources, including by theft and fraudulent prescriptions in the U.S., and drug trafficking from other countries, according to the DEA.

The drug can be snorted, ingested with a pill, injected or smoked, according to the DEA.

Homeland Security Investigations believes fentanyl overdoses are a national crisis at “epidemic proportions,” Prado said.

“Our top priority has been to really interdict and investigate, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that are responsible for the distribution of fentanyl throughout the Carolinas and beyond,” Prado said.

The drug is becoming more common because of demand and the ability to cheaply produce it, Prado said. Criminal organizations that distribute it have found an “insatiable” market in the U.S. making it more difficult for law enforcement to prevent the drug from entering communities, Prado said.

Fentanyl dominates drug supply

Fentanyl, in all its forms, is the most common illicit drug being distributed in Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Lt. Sean Mitchell told The Observer in July.

Prado said the increase in fentanyl seizures by law enforcement is due to both an increase in distribution and better police work.

“There is no doubt that cartels have made a more concerted effort to saturate the U.S. market with massive amounts of fentanyl, while simultaneously HSI has become more adept at identifying, disrupting and dismantling trafficking networks,” Prado said.

Narcotics laced with fentanyl are creating a “whole different level of danger,” Mitchell said. Fentanyl is so dangerous, anyone who takes it could be dead in moments.

“The potency of fentanyl is unlike anything that we’ve seen in law enforcement,” Prado said. “The fatalities and the overdoses that occur on a daily basis in the Carolinas and throughout the country is a crisis.”

Parents, here are tips to save your teens from fentanyl

Pediatricians like me aren’t used to our patients dying. Most children and teens are healthy and thrive, and although some might experiment with drugs, teen overdoses are relatively uncommon. A rising threat, however, is forcing all of us – especially parents – to grapple with a new reality.

Scott Hadland

Scott Hadland

Just-released data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2021 more teens than ever before died of overdoses, driven by increasingly potent and dangerous drugs. Overdoses are now the third leading cause of death in US children under age 20, killing more than 1,100 teens each year – the equivalent of a school classroom every week.

Read the full article and watch the video on

What congress can do about illicit fentanyl

Photos of Americans who died from a fentanyl overdose are displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, on July 13, 2022. (Photo by Agnes Bun/AFP via Getty Images)

On Jan. 3, a new U.S. Congress will be sworn into office for the 118th time in our nation’s history. Sadly, for the first time ever, these new and returning legislators will assume office under the dark milestone of more than 100,000 drug-related deaths in the past year — an all-time high. Congress can and must act quickly at the national level to turn this deadly tide. 

With drug-related fatalities at an all-time high and likely going higher, it’s clear that the status quo isn’t working. New policy approaches matched with recent innovations in treatment are necessary to overcome the stratospheric overdose rate. 

Read the full article on The Hill web site or download article PDF.

Narcan kits installed in high schools to fight teen overdoses

A growing number of schools are installing kits stocked with naloxone, also known as Narcan, amid an alarming surge in teen overdoses. NBC News’ Morgan Radford reports from Camden County, New Jersey, to learn about one district’s plan to protect students as dangerous fentanyl becomes more prevalent.

View the original NBC News story on YouTube or the article and video on

Fentanyl killed their son. Now they’re begging parents to understand the dangers

CNN — 

It was every parent’s worst nightmare.

Two days after Christmas 2020, Chris Didier went into his son Zach’s bedroom in their home near Sacramento. The accomplished student, school theater actor and athlete was unresponsive at his desk – his head lying on his arm.

“I could feel before I even touched him that something was horribly wrong,” said Chris.

Read the full story and watch the video on

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