Children younger than 14 are dying of fentanyl poisoning at a faster rate than any other age group, according to a new analysis from Families Against Fentanyl (FAF), a nonprofit spreading awareness about the deadly opioid.
Fentanyl poisoning occurs when people in contact with or accidentally ingest the synthetic opioid, which is about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and their bodies shut down as a result — a trend that has been increasing across the United States over the past several years, according to FAF founder, Jim Rauh.
“It’s so prevalent in society now,” said Rauh, a chemical engineer by trade who lost his 37-year-old son Tom to fentanyl poisoning in 2015. “Distribution goes to dispersion by entropy. That’s the law of physics. And it’s showing out because of the mass quantity of this material. … It’s so prevalent that our innocent children, by incidental contact, are being killed. And now it’s creeping into the schools and other enclosed environments.”
Between 2019 and 2021 — the latest year for which data on opioid deaths from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is available — synthetic opioid fatalities led by fentanyl poisonings among U.S. children under 14 years old increased faster than among any other U.S. age group, according to an FAF analysis of CDC data.