Florida leads nation in highest number of fentanyl deaths

Fentanyl poisoning deaths more than doubled in just two years.

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  • | 2:40 p.m. March 2, 2022
Photo by Darwin Brandis on Adobe Stock
Photo by Darwin Brandis on Adobe Stock
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Fentanyl-related deaths surpassed a staggering 64,000 last year, according to an analysis completed by Families Against Fentanyl using data from the Center for Disease Control. Last year, Florida alone lost 5,161 people to illicit fentanyl, more than any other state across the country. In addition to ranking highest in the nation for total fentanyl deaths last year, Florida also ranked in the top 20 states for fentanyl deaths per capita. See the report, “Fentanyl: The State We’re In” and tables below. (Note: last year data is the most recent 12 months for which CDC data was available at time of analysis, which is the 12 months ending in May 2021.)

[For local analysis see this Palm Coast Observer story: "Drug Abuse in Flagler County"]

Families Against Fentanyl also found that since 2019, illicit fentanyl deaths more than doubled in the state of Florida with an increase of 2.3x. Florida is one of 30 states where fentanyl poisoning deaths more than doubled in just two years. Deaths among teens are rising even faster. Fentanyl deaths among U.S. teens more than tripled in the same time period. Fentanyl poisonings among black teens increased five-fold.

[Another recent story from Palm Coast: 20 arrested in drug bust]

Since 2015, fentanyl fatalities across the United States increased by 547%. Fentanyl fatalities in Florida have increased by 746%, and has been responsible for 16,496 deaths since 2015.

 “The fentanyl crisis is getting worse, not better. Fake pills with deadly amounts of fentanyl are popping up everywhere. It’s in fake Xanax and Percocets, it’s being laced in cocaine and ecstasy. A single pill can kill,” said Families Against Fentanyl founder James Rauh, who lost his son to fentanyl poisoning. “Fentanyl poisoning is tearing families apart and killing our young people at an alarming rate. This stuff is so deadly it’s been used as a chemical weapon. Even babies and young children have been fatally poisoned by accident.  It does not belong on our streets. It’s time for our leaders in Washington to do more.”

 “It is time to attack fentanyl overdoses with the same vigor and approaches as we do the coronavirus. It is heartbreaking to treat babies who overdosed or people who had no idea their pills or powder was contaminated with a deadly poison,” said Dr. Roneet Lev, emergency physician and former Chief Medical Officer of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Treating fentanyl overdoses is an attempt to bring someone back from the dead. As an emergency physician I do my best, but sadly we are not always successful. Fentanyl suppliers are preying on the vulnerable in our society.”

Fentanyl poisoning is now the No. 1 cause of death among Americans 18-45, responsible for more deaths than suicide, car accidents or gun violence last year. A new report published in JAMA Pediatrics recently found that unintentional drug “overdose” deaths among Americans aged 10-24 years old have resulted in the loss of 1.25 million years of life from 2015 through 2019.

State-by-state report is available at:


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