Fentanyl overdoses killing more Americans than COVID-19
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SALT LAKE CITY — Fentanyl is now the number one cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45, says one group dedicated to raising awareness about fentanyl and its deadliness.
Between 2020 and 2021, nearly 79,000 people between 18 and 45 years old — 37,208 in 2020 and 41,587 in 2021 — died of fentanyl overdoses, according to the data analysis.
Families Against Fentanyl also said the CDC estimates half of all overdose deaths are directly caused by fentanyl, adding the drug kills more Americans than suicides, COVID-19, and car accidents.
But there is a medication, Naloxone, available for free that can reverse overdoses before becoming fatal, says a Utah expert who discusses addiction and treatment.
Fentanyl overdose deaths double in Utah
Rebecca Hyde, the recovery-services manager at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to talk about this deadly drug’s effect on the nation’s younger citizens and what can be done to help those struggling with addiction.
Hyde said fentanyl deaths in Utah doubled from 2019 to 2020. Also, the Utah Highway Patrol reported a 900% increase in fentanyl seizures over 2020, she said.
She added that the government’s efforts to contain the opioid epidemic have moved the addiction problem over to fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is something that’s only used in a [hospital] emergency department. It’s not normally prescribed for the general public. You have to be a cancer patient in a lot of pain [to be given fentanyl],” Hyde said.
“What are the resources out there for someone who wants to break free from an addiction to fentanyl?” Matheson asked.
An addicted person needs to know they are not alone, and help is out there, Hyde said.
Step One is detox
“Depending on where [the addicted person is] on the scale of use, they might actually have to go into an inpatient hospital or facility to do a medically supervised detox,” she said. After that, the underlying cause of the addiction needs to be addressed then treated.
How to stop an overdose
“Naloxone has been something that has saved a lot of people,” Matheson said. “Describe that for us.”
Naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped because of an overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
“Naloxone is an amazing medication. I just want everyone to know that it’s available free of charge,” Hyde said. With Naloxone “you can get somebody at least to do breathing again and then you could get them into an emergency room or in for medical help. But I truly would encourage anybody to have a Naloxone kit with them.”
Opposite of addiction is connection
Free kits are available at Utah Naloxone, 525 E. 100 South #4400, Salt Lake City, Utah, (385) 495-9050. Hyde said 24/7 help is also a phone call away: in Utah (1-801-587-3000) and nationally (1-800-273-8255).
She closed by reminding listeners and readers that the opposite of addiction is connection.
“When you are connected to people, when you’re connected to caregivers, that’s when folks do so well,” Hyde said.
Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.