The Silent Fentanyl Crisis: Children Die, While the Media Is Silent

The next generations deserve a safer future, and that future is contingent on what we do now to make it safer

By Thomas McGregor

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — In recent years, the world has witnessed a devastating epidemic unfold, silently claiming the lives of 1,000s of innocent children in the United States. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, has embedded itself into our communities – and taken a devastating and deathly toll on young lives. I call out the media for not having covered this tragic issue in the way it should.

Shockingly, amidst the constant barrage of reports, the media has largely remained silent about this tragedy, leaving families to grieve in the shadows.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is exceedingly clear about the media’s role in conveying information to us – and why "Freedom of the Press" is vitally important to safety and the well-being of American life.

In this instance, they have failed in this charge.

Let's shed some light on the grim reality of fentanyl poisoning among children, presenting factual data and calling out the media for the lack of coverage. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine – and up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. The drug's illicit production and distribution have skyrocketed in recent years, contributing to a widespread crisis of opioid addiction and fatal overdoses. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has been tracking drug overdose deaths, and the numbers are alarming. According to their data:

  • Between 2015 and 2019, there was a staggering 10-fold increase in synthetic opioid-involved overdose deaths, predominantly driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
  • The country saw over 91,000 deaths related to synthetic opioids during this period, with fentanyl playing a substantial role.
  • In 2021, deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise with 70,601 overdose deaths. 

While the media has extensively covered the opioid crisis, the focus has largely been on adults and its impact on communities at large. Sadly, the fate of thousands of children who have fallen victim to fentanyl poisoning remains largely overlooked.

According to a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the number of children and adolescents succumbing to fentanyl poisoning has been steadily rising over the past decade.

Additionally, Julia R. Gaither, Ph.D. concluded in the Journal JAMA Pediatrics:

“Fentanyl was implicated in 5,194 of 13,861 (37.5%) fatal pediatric opioid poisonings between 1999 and 2021. Most deaths were among adolescents aged 15 to 19 years (89.6%) and children aged 0 to 4 years (6.6%). For all ages, 43.8% of deaths occurred at home, and 87.5% were unintentional.”

Although accurate data on child-specific fentanyl deaths can be challenging to obtain, current evidence and research from medical professionals, emergency responders, and addiction support groups indicate a concerning upward trend. The CDC, AAP, and JAMA Pediatrics reports highlight the increase in child fatalities associated with fentanyl-laced drugs or accidental exposure to the drug within and outside the household.

Therefore, the case is clear that fentanyl poisoning not only claims the lives of children but also leaves lasting open wounds within affected families. The loss of a child is an unimaginable tragedy that can lead to deep long-term emotional and psychological pain for parents, siblings, friends, and extended family members.

Moreover, the stigma associated with drug-related deaths can further isolate these families from seeking the support they desperately need.

The fentanyl poisoning epidemic is an ongoing tragedy that claims the lives of thousands of children each year. 

The media should play a vital role in highlighting and driving discussions on critical issues. We can be honest and clear that this particular issue is uncomfortable to talk about, and equally just as challenging to report on.

The media's silence on this aspect of the opioid crisis has inadvertently left the stories of these young victims and their families by the wayside and has hindered efforts to address the issue comprehensively. 

Is the media too concerned with ratings to run the numerous stories of fentanyl poison stories that they have at their feet? Do they quiver at the notion of viewers changing the channel if they showcase stories of local children dying from this easily fatal poison?

Based on the lack of reporting, it stands to reason that these statements are true. 

It is crucial for journalists, news outlets, and society as a whole to recognize the gravity of this situation, raise awareness, and advocate for comprehensive strategies to tackle this deeply distressing crisis. Only through collective action and empathy can we hope to protect our children from the grips of fentanyl and prevent further heartbreak in our communities.

The next generations deserve a safer future, and that safer future is contingent on what we do now to make it safer. 

Contact your federal, state, and local legislators and urge them to take action to address this horrible problem. In addition, contact other stakeholders like the media, celebrities, and organizations. 

Fentanyl Organizations: