On Saturday, Sharyl Attkisson posted an article about the increase in drug overdoses in America and the relationship between that increase and our open southern border.
The article reports:
The following is an excerpt from the Executive Summary of the Commission on Combatting Synthetic Opioid Trafficking.
Cumulatively, since 1999, drug overdoses have killed approximately 1 million Americans. That number exceeds the number of U.S. service members who have died in battle in all wars fought by the United States. Even worse is that the United States has never experienced the level of drug overdose fatalities seen right now.
In just the 12 months between June 2020 and May 2021, more than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdose—more than twice the number of U.S. traffic fatalities or gun-violence deaths during that period. Some two-thirds of these deaths—about 170 fatalities each day, primarily among those ages 18 to 45—involved synthetic opioids.
The primary driver of the opioid epidemic today is illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.
In 2018, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the cost of overdose fatalities was $696 billion, despite being roughly two-thirds of annual overdose deaths today. It is therefore reasonable to estimate that drug overdoses are now costing the United States approximately $1 trillion annually.
Given these fatalities, the Commission finds the trafficking of synthetic drugs into the United States to be not just a public health emergency but a national emergency that threatens both the national security and economic well-being of the country.
The article continues:
In less than a decade, illegal U.S. drug markets that were once dominated by diverted prescription opioids and heroin became saturated with illegally manufactured synthetic opioids. Some of these synthetic variants are cheaper and easier to produce than heroin making them attractive alternatives to criminals who lace them into heroin and other illicit drugs or press them into often-deadly counterfeit pills.
Mexico is the principal source of this illicit fentanyl and its analogues today. In Mexico, cartels manufacture these poisons in clandestine laboratories with ingredients—precursor chemicals—sourced largely from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Because illicit fentanyl is so powerful and such a small amount goes such a long way, traffickers conceal hard-to-detect quantities in packages, in vehicles, and on persons and smuggle the drug across the U.S.–Mexico border.
It is difficult to interdict given that just a small physical amount of this potent drug is enough to satisfy U.S. demand, making it highly profitable for traffickers and dealers.
Indeed, the trafficking of synthetic opioids offers a more profitable alternative to heroin for Mexican drug traffickers. The Mexican government, in part out of self-preservation and in part because the trafficking problem transcends current law enforcement capacity, recently adopted a “hugs, not bullets” approach to managing the transnational criminal groups. However, such approaches have not been able to address trafficking issues, and further efforts will be needed.
The article concludes:
U.S. and Mexican efforts can disrupt the flow of synthetic opioids across U.S. borders, but real progress can come only by pairing illicit synthetic opioid supply disruption with decreasing the domestic U.S. demand for these drugs.
Congress established the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to examine the causes of the influx of synthetic opioids, to understand how to reduce the trafficking of these drugs, and to identify solutions to mitigate a worsening overdose death crisis.
The magnitude of this fast-moving problem and the unique challenges it presents will require a new and different national response across all levels of government and policy domains.
Read or download the entire commission report here.
In a sense, the drug problem has something in common with the current debate over abortion. Until we have a cultural change that makes marijuana (a gateway drug) use socially unacceptable, we will not be able to solve the drug crisis. Until we make abortion socially unacceptable, overturning Roe vs. Wade will only be a small step forward. Peer pressure is real, and it has a lot to do with the drug problem in America. As long as teenagers and young adults believe it is cool to smoke marijuana, a percentage of those teenagers and young adults will go on to more dangerous drugs. In the past thirty years, we have seen the cultural change in the area of cigarette smoking. Smoking in a restaurant thirty years ago was acceptable, now it simply does not happen. We need to make similar changes in the areas of drug use and abortion.