Fentanyl Poisoning Kills Five Texans a Day

Fentanyl-laced pills on top of money | Image by Sinmigo/Shutterstock

Fentanyl poisoning is causing an alarming number of deaths each day in Texas, making awareness about this potent synthetic opioid essential.

An estimated five Texans die each day by overdosing on fentanyl, which is a powerful yet cheaply manufactured substance. The Drug Enforcement Administration links the influx of fentanyl into the United States to suppliers in Mexico, China, and India.

Since this highly addictive substance is often disguised as commonly abused prescription medicines, such as Oxycodone, Xanax, Adderall, or Percocet, those making these illicit purchases at rates as low as $3 per pill are often unknowingly getting fentanyl-laced products. With an estimated 42% of such pills containing a potentially lethal dose, a person taking one might die just minutes later.

Considering that almost 40% of overdose deaths are witnessed by another person, knowing the signs of fentanyl poisoning and knowing the steps to take can save lives.

As described by Dallas County Health and Human Services, a person taking fentanyl might feel a sense of euphoria right away, followed immediately by feelings of tiredness. The person’s pupils might grow small, his skin might become cold and sweaty, and most worrying of all, his breathing and heart rate might slow drastically.

While it is essential to call 911 in the case of a suspected fentanyl overdose, having naloxone on hand could be the difference between life and death. No prescription is necessary to purchase this overdose-reversing drug, which is most often administered as a nasal spray.

Both on the local, state, and national levels, policymakers have tried to mobilize against fentanyl poisoning through awareness-building campaigns, law enforcement operations, and enhanced carceral punishments for convicted suppliers and dealers.

Just recently Jason “Jelly Roll” DeFord, a former drug peddler turned country rock star, addressed the Senate’s Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, asking them to take proactive action to curb the fentanyl crisis, as previously covered in The Dallas Express.

“I think it’s important to note that in these five minutes I’ll be speaking, somebody in the United States will die of a drug overdose. It is almost a 72% chance that during those five minutes, it will be fentanyl-related,” Jelly Roll began his testimony.

Alongside supporting the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, which extends the fight against fentanyl beyond U.S. borders, Jelly Roll called for destigmatizing substance abuse to help get to the heart of the nation’s drug problem.

Moreover, in Dallas County, a survey found that 65% of residents said they struggled to address mental health issues — understood as a key driver of substance abuse — due to the “stigma” surrounding mental illness or feelings of “embarrassment.”

Professional and anonymous help is available for those grappling with mental health and substance abuse issues by calling 988 or visiting findhelpdc.com.

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