Authorities say fentanyl contributed to thousands of deaths in Florida
Fentanyl overdose has become a major public health issue in the United States in recent years. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is often used as a prescription pain medication, but it is also sometimes used illegally. It is extremely powerful and can be very dangerous, especially when it is mixed with other drugs or alcohol. An overdose of fentanyl can cause respiratory depression, coma, and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl was involved in nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths in the United States in 2018.
Authorities say that fentanyl is also considered the most deadly drug in Florida, contributing to thousands of deaths. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50–100 times stronger than morphine, was developed to ease the pain of cancer patients, but it is now the leading cause of overdose deaths among adults.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, illegal fentanyl is being made in Mexico and then combined with counterfeit prescription pills such as Xanax and Adderall. They say that over 6,000 people died in 2021 from fentanyl-laced counterfeit prescription pills.
Efforts to address the problem of fentanyl overdose include increasing access to overdose-reversal drugs like naloxone, providing support and treatment for people struggling with addiction, and cracking down on illegal fentanyl trafficking. As part of those efforts, a research team led by the University of Houston has developed a vaccine targeting the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl that could block its ability to enter the brain.