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Equality
Prognosis

Teenage Fentanyl Deaths Are Soaring, and Black Teens Are Hit Hardest

Doctors see victims as young as 14 in emergency rooms

A DEA chemist checks confiscated pills containing fentanyl at a laboratory in New York.

A DEA chemist checks confiscated pills containing fentanyl at a laboratory in New York.

Photographer: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl tripled among teenagers and went up five times among Black teens in the past two years, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The nonprofit group Families Against Fentanyl compiled the data from the CDC, which said 2021 figures are incomplete because drug overdose deaths have a six-month lag in reporting time. Margaret Warner, from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, said, given the spike in drug use during the pandemic, it’s likely the 2021 death count will only rise.