Over the past several years, our nation has seen a dramatic increase in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, specifically fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Its legitimate medical use is as a prescription drug typically used to treat pain. Unfortunately, organized drug cartels based in Mexico are manufacturing and smuggling fentanyl into the U.S., furthering an already sizable opioid abuse problem.
Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially deadly dose. According to the CDC, 107,622 Americans died of drug poisoning in 2021, with 66 percent of those deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl. A study from the Idaho Office of Drug Policy reveals that the number of drug overdoses has doubled in our state since 2012. Statistically, one Idahoan will die each day of a drug overdose with that number expected to rise given current trends.