COLORADO SPRINGS — A nationwide rally was held on June 3 to raise awareness and advocate for change in combating the synthetic drug epidemic in the United States, with a local group gathering outside the Pioneer Museum in Downtown Colorado Springs.

The national movement was hosted by the Association of People Against Lethal Drugs (APALD), and is pushing for legislative change that holds drug trafficking and drug dealers legally accountable for deaths resulting from dealing illegal drugs.

Each day in the United States, more than 275 lives are lost to synthetic opioids. According to the CDC’s July 14th, 2021, report, drug related deaths, primarily from fentanyl, soared from 72,000 in 2019 to a record 93,000 in 2020. In May 2022, the CDC stated that overdose deaths in the U.S. rose to a record high in 2021 of over 107,000 deaths for the 12 month period, and the vast majority of these deaths were caused by illegally made fentanyl.

APALD insists that Fentanyl deaths are not the same kind of overdoses seen in the past, but rather, they are poisonings, because many of those who have died from ingesting the drug were unaware it was present.

“My nephew thought he was getting an OxyContin,” said Lindsay Jones, and attendee at the rally in Colorado Springs. “His friend found him dead in his bedroom a few minutes later and that’s how quickly it happened.”

A report from the District of Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office shows law enforcement has seized more dosage units in the first five months of 2022 than in all of 2021.