According to the Families Against Fentanyl organization’s website, Fentanyl is now the number one cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45, with the illicit drug killing 187 Americans every day. Sadly, deaths involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl are on the rise. The organization’s THE CHANGING FACES OF FENTANYL DEATHS Fact sheet sheds light on the ongoing crisis.

In North Carolina, death certificates don’t have a specific code for fentanyl’s involvement in a drug overdose. There is a code – T40.4 — for “other synthetic narcotic overdose.” The Epidemiology, Surveillance and Informatics unit of the NC Division of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch notes that most of these cases are “due to illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogues,” but can also include prescription fentanyl and other, less potent synthetic narcotics like Tramadol.

An analysis of statistics from the NC Office of Chief Medical Examiner finds overdose deaths with that code went from 442 in 2016 (the first year for which the office had such statistics) to 3,163 in 2021 — an increase of 616%. [source]