‘Something that’s preventable’: Fentanyl deaths spike among children

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Organizations and law enforcement agencies across the country are calling attention to a deadly problem.

Tuesday marked the second-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day, and research just published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that deaths among children are spiking.

Newly compiled data say the drug killed about 1,550 kids in 2021 alone.

That’s more than 30 times the number in 2013, when the wave of synthetic opioid deaths began sweeping our country.

That overdose deaths have increased by over a hundred percent over a couple of years in kids from 10 to 19 years of age is alarming, you know,” said Dr. Kenneth Zoucha, a pediatrician and addiction medicine physician. “And that’s just way too many kids dying from something that’s preventable.”

Ryan Carruthers with CenterPointe, an addiction treatment center in Lincoln, has noticed an increase in fentanyl and opioid addiction in Lincoln and Omaha.

He said it’s a growing problem across all ages.

Experts say most teen deaths involve recreational drug use, and like adults, they may not even know that fentanyl has been added to the drugs they’re taking.

Younger kids are most commonly exposed to the deadly opioid at home when it’s left within their reach.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office is one of the agencies sounding the alarm.

It’s sharing some key tips and facts on how to protect your loved ones.

That includes knowing the signs of an overdose, carrying naloxone, testing for fentanyl and being prepared to call for help.

SEE ALSO: After FDA approval, Lincoln experts say over-the-counter Narcan will save lives

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