2023 child Fentanyl deaths reach record high in North Carolina

Data from the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force indicates nearly three dozen children under the age of 17 died from fentanyl in 2022.

Nearly three dozen North Carolina children died from fentanyl in 2022, marking another record high in childhood deaths from the deadly substance.

Ten children under 6 years old and 25 teenagers between 13 and 17 years old died from the drug, according to data presented to the unintentional death prevention committee of the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force on Thursday. The task force didn’t present data on children between 6 and 12.

In 2021, 11 young children and 14 teens died from fentanyl. In 2015, it was one for teens.

“We have a problem,” said Michelle Aurelius, the chief medical examiner for the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. “It is reflected not only nationally, but here in North Carolina. We’re in trouble.”

In 2022, there were 4,243 suspected overdose deaths in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In 2023, through November, there were 3,853 suspected overdose deaths.

Deaths among adolescents often stem from them choosing to take drugs, including fentanyl.

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