CLAIM: Fentanyl is the main reason behind loss of life for adults within the U.S.
THE FACTS: Fentanyl overdose deaths, whereas excessive, aren’t the main reason behind deaths amongst all adults within the U.S., specialists say. Coronary heart illness and most cancers kill extra individuals, in line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
Social media customers, together with some Republican elected officers, claimed that the artificial opioid is the No. 1 killer of adults within the U.S. “Fentanyl is the main reason behind loss of life amongst American adults,” Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter. “Till @POTUS secures our southern border, this disaster will solely worsen.” The congresswoman’s tweet was additionally shared by Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
This isn’t the case, in line with specialists and CDC information. “It completely isn’t the main reason behind loss of life for all adults,” mentioned Kenneth Leonard, director of the College at Buffalo Scientific and Analysis Institute on Addictions. “I wouldn’t decrease fentanyl as an issue, nevertheless it’s actually exhausting to say it’s the main reason behind loss of life,” mentioned Lewis Nelson, a professor of pharmacology, physiology and neuroscience at Rutgers New Jersey Medical Faculty.
That distinction goes to coronary heart illness and most cancers, mentioned Dan Ciccarone, a professor of household and neighborhood drugs on the College of California, San Francisco. About 71,000 individuals died from overdosing on artificial opioids like fentanyl in 2021, up from virtually 58,000 in 2020, in line with the CDC. As compared, the CDC estimates that in 2020, virtually 700,000 individuals died from coronary heart illness, roughly 600,000 from most cancers and round 350,000 as a consequence of COVID-19.
Spokespeople for McCarthy didn’t reply to the AP’s request for remark. Andrea Coker, a spokesperson for Van Duyne, wrote in an e mail that whereas coronary heart illness could be the main killer of older American adults, the “cdc is stating fentanyl is the main reason behind loss of life for People 18-45.” As a part of her response, Coker offered a hyperlink to an evaluation carried out by the Ohio-based nonprofit Households Towards Fentanyl that decided fentanyl was the highest killer of individuals ages 18-45 in 2019 and 2020. The group analyzed publicly obtainable CDC information by evaluating artificial opioid deaths to different causes of loss of life over the previous few years, in line with spokesperson Moira Muntz.
The CDC has not verified that fentanyl is the highest killer amongst individuals in that age group, mentioned Jeff Lancashire, a spokesperson for the CDC’s Nationwide Heart for Well being Statistics. The company makes use of loss of life certificates to find out the main causes of loss of life within the U.S. In its datasets, fentanyl deaths are included as half of a bigger class of deaths attributed to artificial opioids. Artificial opioids, which embody medication like fentanyl and tramadol, are completely different from pure opioids, like morphine, and semi-synthetic opioids, akin to oxycodone, in line with the CDC. Whereas fentanyl accounts for almost all of artificial opioid deaths, the CDC lacks breakout information on deaths attributable to fentanyl particularly, Lancashire mentioned.
Drug overdose deaths are unfold over 4 completely different reason behind loss of life classes, although nearly all of them land within the “unintentional” class. The remaining are categorized as suicides, homicides or undetermined. In response to preliminary 2021 information, accidents had been the main reason behind loss of life amongst 18-45 year-olds, with unintentional artificial opioid overdoses amounting to lower than half of these deaths, Lancashire wrote. “It doesn’t seem that fentanyl alone is the main reason behind loss of life amongst 18-45 yr olds and positively is NOT the main reason behind loss of life amongst all adults,” he wrote. “Nonetheless, we don’t break down the main causes in such a approach that we will rank fentanyl wherever.”
— Related Press author Josh Kelety in Phoenix contributed this report.