Last week, a bipartisan coalition of attorney generals addressed the security dangers that fentanyl is having on our country, going so far as urging the White House to label illicit fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction.
It’s hard to argue with that headline-grabbing label.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that the CDC describes as 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The drug is often mixed with heroin or cocaine (whether the user is aware or not) and has created a drastic uptick in overdose deaths in our country over the past several years.
The United States experienced over 107,000 deaths from drug overdose in a 12-month stretch ending in February 2022 - including over 75,000 from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. This number is a drastic increase from the roughly 3,000 synthetic opioid-related deaths in 2012 – a 25x jump in just one decade.
In July of this year, federal authorities seized a record 2,100 pounds of fentanyl —enough of the substance to kill more than the entire U.S. population.
These are just a few of the most shocking statistics shared by the coalition of attorney generals. Their entire presentation can be viewed here.
The bipartisan, multi-state coalition of AGs is an encouraging next step in preventing these drugs from harming Americans citizens. However, we must also consider those already suffering from addictions and usage of these devastating drugs. The most effective way to save the lives of those individuals is with Naloxone.
Utilized primarily as a nasal spray, Naloxone quickly reverses overdoses by blocking the opioid effects from the brain. Naloxone has proven to be an effective tool in saving lives on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, both by first responders and medical professionals.
As effective as Naloxone is, it can only save lives if it is available. Situations arise where overdosed individuals don’t have time to be rushed to the hospital or rescued by paramedics. We must ensure that Naloxone is available where the need is greatest.
This is a challenge that HarborPath is committed to tackling by finding new avenues to make Naloxone available and affordable to individuals and communities. This summer, HarborPath selected FFF Enterprises as its exclusive distributor for Naloxone to help states combat the rising number of opioid-related deaths.
HarborPath will deploy Naloxone through nonprofit organizations, county health departments, university health centers and directly to consumers. Our team has had several encouraging conversations with federal, state and local officials across the country and is working to customize distribution and operational approaches capable of delivering the best outcomes.
Naloxone can easily be distributed to networks of high schools and universities, with devices such as the OneBox – an all-in-one rescue kit that provides Naloxone and a bilingual walkthrough video to those distributing the spray to the overdosed individual. Other communities have distributed Naloxone directly to the public through a vending machine system, allowing individuals and families of those more likely to experience an overdose to have the drug on hand in case of an emergency.
It’s clear that a united, multi-faceted approach must be taken to loosen the grip that drug overdoses and synthetic opioids have on our country and its citizens. Combined with these approaches to prevent access and administer emergency aid, we have an opportunity to save lives and end this terrible epidemic.