Fact-check: Is fentanyl the leading cause of death among adults in the U.S.?

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Nusaiba Mizan, PolitiFact Texas/Austin American-StatesmanOctober 5, 2022 12:44 pm,

From PolitiFact Texas/Austin American-Statesman:

The U.S. reached a grim milestone in April 2021: More than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in a single year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press release on this statistic indicated that opioids, especially the synthetic opioid fentanyl, drove the rise.

U.S. Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Irving, tweeted on Aug. 19: “Fentanyl is the leading cause of death among American adults.”

The nation is grappling with a surge in deaths from opioids. And there’s no question fentanyl is a key factor driving up those fatalities. Fentanyl is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

We reached out to Van Duyne’s office to ask for her source for the statement but didn’t hear back. Van Duyne’s office however did provide the Associated Press, undertaking a similar fact check, an analysis by Families Against Fentanyl, which specified an age range in its analysis.

The advocacy group Families Against Fentanyl examined CDC data and determined fentanyl has become the leading cause of death for people ages 18 to 45 in 2019 and 2020. The group compared synthetic-opioid related deaths with other major causes of death, which were listed in another CDC data set on leading causes of death. …

Read the full story at the Austin American-Statesman, and listen to an interview with PolitiFact Texas’ Nusaiba Mizan in the audio player above.

Radio interview produced by Sean Saldana

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