Report: Illinois 6th in U.S. with the most fentanyl deaths in past year

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(The Center Square) – A new report shows that Illinoisans continue to die from fentanyl overdoses.

The organization Families Against Fentanyl analyzed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found that Illinois is ranked sixth in the country for the most fentanyl deaths from April 2022 through April of this year.

Spokesperson Moira Muntz said nearly 3,000 Illinois families lost loved ones to fentanyl poisonings.

“Just devastated and heartbroken by the loss of their loved ones and it’s happening far too often to far too many families so our goal is to raise awareness and to put pressure on lawmakers in Washington to take further action,” Muntz told The Center Square.

The CDC estimates that more than 111,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending in April, and more than 77,000 of those deaths involved fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

Families Against Fentanyl also found that fentanyl deaths are increasing at more than double the rate of overall drug overdose deaths.

The top three states with the biggest increases in overdose deaths are Oregon (67%), Washington (65%) and Nevada (58%).

The group is calling for President Joe Biden to establish a White House Task Force dedicated to the nation’s illicit fentanyl poisoning and drug “overdose” crisis.

“This is alarming news and it should serve as a wake-up call to our leaders in Washington that more must be done and fast,” founder Jim Rauh said.

Muntz said in most cases, the person who overdoses is unaware fentanyl is involved because Mexican cartels have been lacing other narcotics with fentanyl, often unbeknownst to users.

“We urge folks to call it fentanyl poisoning rather than an overdose death and it’s our hope that the CDC will update their terminology as well,” Muntz said.

Muntz adds that fentanyl continues to be the number one cause of death of Americans 18 to 45 and the new data from the CDC shows deaths are continuing to increase.

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