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Fentanyl may be a cause of increases in teen overdose deaths

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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.”    

Eberlein says many teens may be consuming fentanyl unintentionally, mistaking it for other drugs.  “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

Eberlein says in the La Crosse area, overdose deaths in recent years have been most common among people in their 30’s or 40’s.      

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.  

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Kent Porter

    April 18, 2022 at 5:24 am

    Fentanyl is the cause of all these young people overdoseing , LET’S LET MORE ILLEGALS FROM SOTH AMERICA POUR INTO OUR COUNTRY AND BRING ALL THE DRUGS AND SEX TRAFFICKERS WITH THE < OH YEA DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE 5 TO !) CHI:D RAPEIST THAT COME ACROSSE ILLEGALLY EVERY DAY , YOU VOTED FOR JOE BIDEN , NOW THIS IS WHAT YOU GOT , AND IT'S GONNA GET A WHOLE LOT WORSE , FENTANYL COMING TO A HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE NEAR YOU !!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS KAMALALALALA HARRIS ALSO !!!!!!!!!

  2. Kent Porter

    April 18, 2022 at 5:25 am

    THANKS JOE BIDEN

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