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Fentanyl Kills

New wave of overdoses plagues U.S. and kills nearly 300 people a day according to a BBC news report by Nadine Yousif.

More and more Americans are dying from fentanyl overdoses as a new wave of the opioid epidemic begins to spread through communities in the four corners of the country.

Six years ago, Sean died of an accidental fentanyl overdose in Burlington, Vermont. He was 27.

"Every time I hear about a loss due to substance abuse, my heart breaks a little more," his mother, Kim Blake, wrote in a blog dedicated to her son.

"Another shattered family. Always mourning the loss of dreams and celebrations."

This year, the United States witnessed a grim milestone: for the first time in a single year, more than 100 thousand people overdosed and died nationwide. Of those deaths, more than 66 percent were linked to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Fentanyl is a pharmaceutical product that can be prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain.

But the drug is also manufactured and sold by traffickers. Most of the illegal fentanyl found in the U.S. is trafficked from Mexico and uses chemicals sourced from China, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the federal agency charged with narcotics enforcement and control.

In 2010, less than forty thousand people died from drug overdoses while only 10% of the deaths were linked to fentanyl. At that time, deaths were primarily caused by the use of heroin or opioids prescribed by health care workers.

The change of scenery is detailed in a recently published study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) which shows trends in deaths from overdoses in the country between 2010 and 2021. The data was compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The data clearly shows how fentanyl has redefined overdoses in the United States over the past decade.

Have a great day!

Prof. Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Overdoses (n) = also verb overdoes, overindulges, overeats, od’s

Opioid (n) = a compound resembling opium in addictive properties or physiological effects. "Opioids other than heroin", (adj) = relating to or denoting opioids. "Opioid use"

Shattered (adj) = devastated, crushed, traumatized, horrified, tired, exhausted

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