A new medical report says overdose deaths among teenagers in the U.S. nearly doubled in just one year, and continued to rise in 2021.
STAT News says the spread of fentanyl seems to be a cause for the increase. Dr. Chris Eberlein of Gundersen says overdose deaths in La Crosse have remained steady or gone down recently, but fentanyl has become a major factor.
“Fentanyl has definitely taken over, percentage-wise, in the overdose deaths we’ve seen,” says Eberlein. In the La Crosse area, he says “our overdose deaths have gone down a little bit, if not stayed the same, although I don’t have the age breakdown.”
“They think it’s a different pill, because they’re able to put fentanyl into different forms, and so they take these pills, not necessarily even knowing it’s an opiate, and they think it’s something else, and they end up overdosing from that.”
“With the prevalence of fentanyl in our communities right now, their risk of coming in contact with this, often times inadvertently
The doctor credits area law enforcement with trying to reduce fentanyl supplies in the region, with recent drug busts that have uncovered large amounts of the opioid.