Drug overdose deaths in the United States have reached a record high with more than 100,000 people losing their lives from April 2020 to April 2021. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a report November 17 indicating a 28.5% increase over the same period a year earlier. Many of the deaths that have triggered the rapid increase were caused by the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The rise in drug abuse and related deaths is tragic, but it is not new. As Liberty Nation previously reported, the opioid epidemic has been growing, and fentanyl has been a major culprit.
Synthetic opioids are drugs that mirror the effect of a natural opioid such as heroin but are made in a laboratory and are more potent and lethal. These lab-crafted drugs are responsible for 64% of the deaths in the reported 12-month time period, rising about 15% the year prior.
Methamphetamine and other psychostimulant deaths rose 48%. Nearly all victims were between the ages of 24 and 54, and 70% were men. The opioid crisis has historically impacted white Americans, but it has begun creeping into other demographics over the last few years.
President Biden’s Plan
Following the disturbing announcement from the CDC, President Biden released a statement sharing his condolences to the family members of the 100,306 Americans who lost the battle with addiction. Dr. Rahul Gupta, who heads the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, spoke with reporters on Wednesday as well and called the climb in fatalities “unacceptable,” in need of “a whole lot of government response and evidence-based strategies.”
Experts blame the rapid spread of methamphetamines, fentanyl, or other drugs unknowingly laced with fentanyl. Horror stories across America have been shared by families losing teenage or young adult children to street drugs laced with fentanyl. So many of these cries for help urged government intervention to stop the flow of these synthetic, lethal substances into American communities.
The Biden administration’s solution included calling on Congress to approve $10 billion in drug treatment and interdiction programs. The White House is also working with states to make Naloxone, a medication that can reverse fentanyl and opioid overdoses, more accessible.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of drug overdose deaths has risen each year, with fentanyl leading the depressing surge. The number of lives lost has doubled since 2015. Health officials have warned of the increasing access to illicit and dangerous drugs and the addiction, abuse, and death that often follow. But again, this isn’t new. Liberty Nation and other outlets dedicated to the truth have been reporting on and analyzing this for more than a year now.
Treat the Problem or Prevent it?
The president’s plans so far are treatment based, focusing on recovery or immediate responses to an overdose. He made no mention of ways to keep the drugs from flowing into the country.
The President failed to mention China in his statement on Wednesday, the nation responsible for the immense amount of fentanyl killing Americans every day. Former President Trump frequently criticized China’s high level of exports of fentanyl or the substances used to make it, which are smuggled into the United States through Mexico.
Back in 2018, under pressure from President Trump, President Xi promised to make trading fentanyl a criminal act, punishable to the highest level: the death penalty. However, Xi failed to follow through on that promise, which President Trump routinely blasted him for. So far in 2021, the Drug Enforcement Administration has seized enough fentanyl to kill every member of the United States population.
Unless the United States government can slow and eventually stop the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids into the states and onto the streets, the number of deaths will likely continue to rise. Funding treatment programs goes a long way in helping addicts recover and stay clean, but it is not enough. The federal government needs to take aggressive action in preventing addictions and overdoses in the first place, cutting off the access to drugs in cities and towns across America.
~ Read more from Keelin Ferris.