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Dr. Jonathan Fielding, professor-in-residence in FSPH's Department of Health Policy and Management, wrote an op-ed published Jan. 25 by U.S. News & World Report addressing the rising number of overdose deaths due to such synthetic opioid pain medicines as Fentanyl.
The opioid's easy availability and high toxicity are contributing to American overdose deaths.
For the first time since 1993, life expectancy for a newborn baby in the U.S. declined in 2015. It is a small decline, but if this trend continues, our children and grandchildren will, on average, live shorter lives than us. There are several reasons to explain this decline in longevity, but one preventable cause is the rise in deaths from drug overdose – and of the most alarming new drugs causing overdose is fentanyl.
Fentanyl is an opioid pain medicine prescribed to cancer patients and others experiencing severe pain to which they may become addicted. It is similar to morphine but a staggering 50 to 100 times more potent, and up to 50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl is a tightly-controlled prescription medicine, but it is relatively easy to manufacture and obtain on the street and on the web.