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Fentanyl behind rise in drug overdose deaths

  • Scott LaMar
Protesters assemble a makeshift memorial to those lost to drug overdoses last year during a demonstration in support of a proposed supervised injection site, outside the federal courthouse in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.   U.S. Attorney William McSwain believes the plan to open a supervised injection site violates the federal Controlled Substances Act and wants a federal judge to declare it illegal before it opens. 


Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Protesters assemble a makeshift memorial to those lost to drug overdoses last year during a demonstration in support of a proposed supervised injection site, outside the federal courthouse in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. U.S. Attorney William McSwain believes the plan to open a supervised injection site violates the federal Controlled Substances Act and wants a federal judge to declare it illegal before it opens. 


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Airdate: May 23, 2022

More than 107,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. last year. That’s a 50% increase over 2019, which indicates the COVID-19 pandemic was deadly in more ways than one. Those statistics come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Pennsylvania, 5,162 people died of drug overdoses in 2020 and the incomplete numbers from 2021 show 5,224 were killed by overdoses.

Most of the overdose deaths were linked to fentanyl — the synthetic opioid that 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Many drugs purchased on the street are laced with fentanyl, without the buyer knowing it, so the user is gambling they haven’t taken a lethal dose of fentanyl.

With so much attention focused on the pandemic, the opioid epidemic has flown under the radar. What can be done to stop it?

Joining us on Monday Smart Talk is Steven Ross, Special Assistant to Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

 

 

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