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Tags: fentanyl | toxicology | vape

Bondi: Fentanyl a Lethal Enemy to U.S., Let's Fight It That Way

fentanyl overdose aftermath

Man sits by a mural centered around people who died by fentanyl and opioid overdoses. (Leszek Wrona/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 21 February 2024 01:35 PM EST

OPINION

While a record number of Americans recently gathered to watch the time-honored tradition of the Super Bowl, many tuned in specifically to watch the commercials.

Though normally light-hearted, one memorable ad struck a far more somber note.

A commercial produced by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports featured the heartbreaking story of 19-year-old Paige Gibbons, who tragically died of accidental fentanyl poisoning in November 2022.

A freshman in college, Paige was home for the holidays when she and a friend took what was thought to be a Percocet pill but instead ended up being illicit fentanyl.

The fatal dose cost Paige her young life.

The ad featuring Paige’s tragic story was apropos, as the lethality of this dangerous narcotic made headlines just weeks before when it was revealed that three Kansas City Chiefs fans who were found dead following a playoff game allegedly had three times the lethal dose of fentanyl in their systems.

Toxicology reports suggest the presence of other drugs as well, but the revelation that fentanyl may have also played a role in their deaths has only reinforced the grim reality that fentanyl continues to persist as one of our Nation’s most lethal adversaries.

What makes fentanyl so dangerous is not just its lethality — the equivalent of a few grains of salt would kill most users — but its latent presence in so many other illicit substances. Mexican cartels and the drug trafficking organizations that support them here in the U.S. have been increasingly adding fentanyl to other drugs due to its potency, addictiveness, and profitability.

Unsuspecting users who think they are consuming other street drugs or prescription pills are instead being fed a lethal dose of fentanyl.

A 2022 public safety alert issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found that nearly six in 10 fentanyl-laced prescription pills contained a lethal amount of fentanyl.

While the details surrounding the deaths of the three Chiefs fans remain under investigation, it is not outside the realm of possibility that they, too, fell victim to an accidental overdose.

One particularly alarming trend is the increasing presence of fentanyl in commonly used devices like vape pens.

Vape pen usage has increased dramatically in recent years, especially among teenagers, with over 3 million middle and high-school-aged students reportedly using e-cigarettes.

In the broadening landscape of fentanyl exposure, vape pens are a frightening new medium by which people are being exposed to this toxic substance.

But these accidental deaths are not only affecting unsuspecting users.

These tragedies are also taking the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.

Last year, a 1-year-old child in New York died while taking a nap at his daycare center after accidentally being exposed to fentanyl that was being hidden under a nap mat.

More recently, a woman in Wisconsin is facing criminal charges after her two-year-old daughter died from fentanyl exposure in their home.

Authorities said that there was enough fentanyl in the child’s system to kill an adult. Sadly, these are just two tragic examples out of many such others that occur each year.

The gravity of this crisis cannot be overstated. In each of the past three years, our Nation has experienced an appalling new milestone in the number of Americans who have died from drug overdoses, with yearly totals exceeding 100,000 each of the past few years.

The overwhelming majority of these deaths have come at the hands of opioids and, in particular, fentanyl poisoning. To put that into perspective, nearly as many Americans died of overdose in 2022 as died fighting in the First World War.

When I served as Florida's attorney general, we took the opioid crisis seriously.

We filed a comprehensive lawsuit against opioid manufacturers who were misleading consumers about the addictive nature of their products, and I strongly supported a bill that subjected opioid dealers to murder charges if their products caused a fatal overdose.

That bill is now the law of the land in the Sunshine State.

Other states should follow suit.

As important as it is to strengthen the laws surrounding the illicit distribution of fentanyl, no law can protect someone who is unwittingly being exposed to a substance that they had no intention of taking in the first place.

That is what makes the fentanyl crisis so menacing and why people should think twice before consuming any illicit substance.

Don’t let your life be dependent on the integrity of drug dealers.

Featuring Paige’s story during the Super Bowl was a reminder to millions of Americans that tragedy can strike any family in an instant.

The Super Bowl may have been a celebration of America’s most popular sport, fueling friendly rivalries among fans, but at least part of it reminded us that we must be unified in our awareness and commitment to preventing fentanyl from destroying any more cherished lives.

Pam Bondi is the former Attorney General for the state of Florida. She currently serves as the Chair of the Constitutional Litigation Partnership and Co-Chair of the Center for Law and Justice at the America First Policy Institute.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
The Super Bowl may have been a celebration, fueling friendly rivalries among fans, but at least part of it reminded us that we must be unified in our awareness and commitment to preventing fentanyl from destroying any more cherished lives.
fentanyl, toxicology, vape
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2024-35-21
Wednesday, 21 February 2024 01:35 PM
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