AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, from April 2020 to April 2021, 100,306 Americans died from drug overdoses – the highest number in history – and the first time, that gruesome figure had topped 100,000. After drug overdose deaths rose sharply from 2000-2017, they leveled off and began to decline from 2018 to 2020, thanks in large part to Trump-era border and drug control policies. However, the effects of the pandemic reversed much of that progress, and now President Joe Biden’s policy of effectively open borders threatens to exacerbate the crisis to previously unimaginable heights.
Experts believe the widespread despair and isolation brought on by pandemic shutdowns were the primary causes of the spike in overdose deaths during 2020 and 2021. According to the CDC, “Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, caused nearly two-thirds (64%) of all drug overdose deaths in the 12 months ending April 2021, up 49% from the year before.” While deaths from the use of other drugs also increased, no drug in recent history has caused more deaths than fentanyl.
While there are many different versions, fentanyl is, by far, the most prolific synthetic opioid and the largest contributor to the record overdose rates. Most traditional painkillers (Opium, Heroin, Morphine) are known as “opiates” and are derived from natural plants like the opium poppy. Production of these drugs usually requires access to large fields of natural plants that can be harvested and synthesized locally. This is how drug cartels in places like Afghanistan and Central America produced these powerful and lucrative substances.
These new and deadly painkillers are not simply more powerful, but exponentially more efficient to create. Synthetic opioids are generally not made with plant matter, but are instead created almost entirely in a lab and “synthesized” with chemical compounds. As one DEA Agent told Science Magazine, “For the cartels, why wait for a field of poppies to grow and harvest if you can get your hands on the precursor chemicals and cook a batch of fentanyl in a lab?” As a result, even a small lab can create larger amounts of drugs that are far more powerful than their predecessors.
These synthetic opioids are overwhelmingly produced in one place: China. Under intense international pressure, China began regulating the production and prescribing of fentanyl in 2015, along with 116 other synthetic drugs. Yet, almost immediately, Chinese producers expanded production in “underground” labs, where more potent versions of the drugs are being created. These drugs were smuggled into America by hiding them in packages. Yet, as authorities cracked down on the practice, Chinese manufacturers began importing the drugs into Mexico, where they are then smuggled across the border by Mexican cartels. According to a December 2020 report, Chinese manufacturers have expanded their plant operations into Mexico so that the drugs can be directly developed in that country and more efficiently smuggled across the border.
It was in part as a response to this growing crisis that President Donald Trump enacted Title 42 in March 2020, a provision that allows the government to remove foreign nationals arriving from countries where there is an “existence of any communicable disease.” As a result, the federal government was able to aggressively crack down on drug smugglers – saving lives in the process.
But as Biden has eliminated Trump-era border policies, fentanyl has once again begun pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border and making its way into American communities. As illegal border crossings have surged to record highs, so too has the amount of illegal narcotics that border patrol agents seize – indicating that there is a far greater amount of illicit drugs that make it through border checkpoints.
At the same time, Democrats at the federal and state level have continued their soft-on-crime approach when it comes to drug trafficking. Just this week, two suspected drug traffickers who were arrested with $150,000 worth of fentanyl pills were released after a short stint in jail. Throughout the country, the story is the same: criminals are caught and then released to continue poisoning Americans.
At the same time, many liberal governments have inexplicably sought to “empower” safe drug use. Cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have aggressively moved to destigmatize drug use, and their radical district attorneys have refused to prosecute open-air drug sales and use. By all accounts, they seem to be more focused on providing clean drug needles and safe injection sites than providing paths to rehabilitation. This month, the New York Health Department even released a series of public ads normalizing fentanyl use, touting slogans like “Don’t be ashamed you are using, be empowered that you are using safely.” The ads all suggest that there are “safe ways” to use fentanyl. Since the campaign launched, several health officials have blasted the department for suggesting there is a “safe” way to use a fundamentally unsafe drug.
There is no proof that this “harm reduction” approach is effective at curbing drug use. At the same time, the Biden administration has shown no signs of clamping down on the rampant illegal immigration that is a major contributing factor to the crisis. For the communities throughout the country being ravaged by the scourge of opioids – and facing down a looming recession – the results of Democrats’ failures could be more deadly than ever before.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.
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While we go viral over the 21,000 killed in gun violence (and we should) over a 100,000 die from drugs and there’s hardly a whisper. Oh, ban those guns and condemn anyone who owns one and destroy the NRA but don’t take my drugs away. Lets march on the capital, lets attack our senators and threaten them. But don’t take my drugs away. I need my drugs to get by every day, I need my seller that provides them to me at school, on my street and at work. They’re even nice enough to sell them to my children. I’m not talking legal pain killers, I’m talking illegal imported or home made drugs that are killing people daily, ruining lives and destroying families. Until we are able to end our drug problems all other issues are meaningless. It doesn’t make any difference who’s in the WH or who controls congress, Governers are useless, and the police have had it with risking their lives to arrests this scum only to be jailed themselves and fired for their efforts. And now we are having gang wars where bullets are spraying everywhere and by standers are getting killed. We know who’s selling what and where – they don’t hide it anymore. The police can stop it. But someone might get shot. Oh, it’s OK to resist arrest and shoot a cop but it’s assault to arrest a criminal and if they shoot one – you’re going to jail. We can take back out cities, our schools and our streets but we don’t want to, we want our drugs, we need out drugs…
Oh yes – and yes MORE failed policy from the marxist democrat party!!
EVERYTHING the democrats do is BAD FOR AMERICA!
WAKE UP People – THROW THEM OUT!
I fear more laws governing use of pain medications. I suffer chronic lower back pain.i have a spinal stimulater implanted which reduces some of the pain but not all. I have been taking prescribed Hydrocodone for some time and it reduces the pain to a tolerable level. I have never been “high” on the drug because I only take them as directed. However the state keeps enacting more “safeguards” to “protect” us but makes it more difficult to obtain our Rxs. I must now see a specialist pain doctor to get my Rx. I can only go to a specified pharmacy to get only enough pills to barely deal with the pain. Once the pharmacy ran out and their shipment had not arrived leaving me in the cold without. Fortunately my pharmacy sympathized and located a partial Rx refill another of their locations to get me through ’til their shipment came in. I have to be seen once a month to get my Rx which drives my Healthcare cost up. All in all legislation is making those of us who truly need the medication pay for those who abuse it. How about remembering us when you legislate.
I know exactly how you feel. The only pain med I can use is Percocet because of allergies and medicine interactions. My dosage has and always will be reviewed by my doctor. I’m not a person who likes to use any type of pain meds but sometimes the pain can be unbearable. The pain will never go away but taking a Percocet makes it more tolerable. I hesitate to have the government step in to handle a whole lot at this point. Pain meds should be monitored and discussed by patient and doctor not by state or federal legislators. You see the mess we have across the board with Biden and his liberal buddies trying to control everything in our lives. . We don’t need them getting involved and controlling a very personal medical issue. Just to ask, how many times has the way you get your meds changed because the government changes the rules? I’m in Ohio and I can tell you that they’ve changed the way I obtain my pain meds at least 3 times in the last two years. It is ridiculous. Our health issues aren’t for the government to make decisions for us. We’re very well capable of determining what’s right for us. Good luck to you Tim. I hope it works out for you.
Drugs are everywhere. Just look at the faces of Pelosi, Ocasio and Kamala. This might be why they actually believe what they are doing is right!
Yep. That Botox sure can make a mess!
I hate Trump but Biden has done so much to destroy the nation that Trump would be welcome. I pray for DeSantis in 2024. Maybe he can undo the Biden harm – at least partially
What people need to get through their heads, is the FACT that Democrats DON’T CARE about anyone’s lives but their own! They are killers at heart and have NO conscience. They are Depopulists, Racists,Baby Killers, Vaccine Pushers,Crime Supporters, Riot Funders, Food Poisoners,Genocidal Maniacs, and on and ON. And they think we’re going to allow them to DISARM US???
They are good drug dealers, too. They are now furnishing crack pipes and syringes.
Hmm, I think that Joe Biden might do something about the opioid crisis, since his son has a big drug problem. I know Biden doesn’t care about the average American, but I think he should care about Hunter????????????????????
I have no sympathy for drug abusers. They are the ones taking the drugs. I do not think anyone is forcing them. This whole situation just makes it harder for people who really need the drugs from getting them.
We talk about this for 2 years and can nothing be done ? We just let them ruin our country ??
You mean you don’t find endlessly repetitive articles about the exact same subject over and over immensely fruitful? That was sarcasm by the way, so don’t flip out. As to your question, sure something could be done about it, but it appears the vast majority of Americans have not felt enough pain yet to motivate them to get way more active across the board. Obviously not the answer either of us are happy with, but that is the state we find ourselves in. Somewhere along the way, the American people lost the will to stand up for themselves and their country against those obviously h*ll bent on systematically destroying it.
There is too much money in the drug trade. That is why it flows so freely. There are a lot of people making tons of money. And they do not want it to stop. I am not sure who those people are. But you can bet there are some politicians involved.
Could it be that some of the swamp makes money off the illegal contraband?
Ya know many politicians have been dirty before?
We know exactly who those people are. They’re not hiding from us, they don’t have to. We know what and where they’re selling to who. We’ve known for a long time. We’re just not willing to do anything about it or support the police so they can stop it.
Paul – until Real Citizens decide to end this garbage it will continue.
A big difference between the will and actual actions to stop it!
Biden, himself, is a disaster. He is single-handedly ruining and destroying America. He needs to gone, but we would have Kammy or PeLOUSY following. We are in deep dodo.
Trust me. There’s no single-handed stuff with Biden. He’s surrounded by puppet masters and he’s the puppet. He is repeating whatever the liberal lefties want him to say. Don’t get me wrong he’s also done some pretty shady things throughout his years in the swamp so he’s not innocent either. Wonder what all the morons who voted for this human vegetable are thinking as they go to the grocery store or put gas in their car.
If we could close the border, it would save so many lives !!!! –those that die trying to get here and those who use the illegal drugs !!!! I find it rediculous, though that we need to protect people from illegal drugs — Who, in their right mind, would buy drugs off the street?
The people in DC are supposed to represent the citizens and other legal residents of our country. Too bad they’re more concerned about making more money for themselves through all their rich lobbyists and holding on to their power. What a worthless bunch!!! Let’s set them straight in November. We must vote very carefully. Let’s get rid of the old blood and bring in some Patriotic, USA loving people who will put ‘We the People’ at the top of their priority list!!! GOD BLESS the USA
ANOTHER biden failure! He is SUCH a threat to the US! Why haven’t we impeached him??
Establishment, Rinos, Globalists…
We haven’t impeached him because the people who have the legal authority to impeach a president are in control of the house and senate. Those are the people who are facilitating the fall of America and, therefore, don’t want to stop Biden’s open door policy that allows – even encourages – drug use. The people who want to impeach Biden are up for election in four months. His impeachment or reign of destruction depends on how America votes. Look at what your candidate has said and done in the past and not what he is telling you now.
Obviously the people in control do not want to prosecute him. Everyone who would do it are worried about political retaliation. There are too many skeletons in their closets. Epstein comes to mind. Who could they finger with his client list? I am sure those people do not want to rock the boat.
Neither Regan or Trump and certainly not Joe have done anything meaningful to STOP the drug crisis in America. We don’t want to. We love our idols, worship them and feed them into our bodies as a way to show our loyalty. We march in mass to stop or prevent other things that are important to us, but you don’t see a protest to stop the drug traffic and usage in America. Over 100,000 deaths don’t interest us. Drug deaths don’t matter regardless of what color their skin is. We won’t give up our drugs to make America Great again and our government isn’t going to stop it. We can stop it: we know where it comes from, who’s responsible for it and who controls it. We even know who’s dealing it on the streets but weren’t not going to stop them, we don’t want to, we like out drugs. Gun violence is minimal compared to the death and destruction of drugs in this country. Drugs are in our schools at all grades now, in our playgrounds, parks-are we demanding change, does it dominate CNN or FOX News for weeks, do all the talk shows demand change? No, we don’t want the drugs to go away, we like our addiction.
I hope everyone – especially the “down” voters – realize Smike’s post is satire.
Where were you when Trump put controls on opioids? Before you would get a 30 tablets prescription and Trump had the FDA tighten controls so that a patient could only get about 3 pills if they could prove need. I thought that was way overkill especially for those with very painful diseases like many terminal illnesses who really need them. And No I don’t take them but I sympathize with those who really need them. But it helped to stop those doctors who were “peddling drugs for money”.
Why do you think President Trump was building the border wall?
We are definitely a nation with a drug problem.
People should watch National Geographic on Saturday about the cocaine or other opiates and see how other countries handle this drug problem. Puppet biden doesn’t have a clue and care nothing for the American. His interest is lying and traveling to tell more lies to other countries. What a disaster
It’s not over, President Joe Biden and his Administration will do more harm to our country. They are so out of touch and incorrigible. NO competency in Biden’s group of know nothings!
“…there are “safe ways” to use fentanyl.” Are you kidding me, New York Health Department?! The next family grieving over the loss of a son or daughter in NY should take the state to court for suggesting that someone can be empowered by “using safely”.
I just heard a report that 5 attendees at a world-class equestrian center in NC became ill after licking fentanyl-laced lollipops. The reporter said they survived and knew they were ingesting drugs. What the he<< is going on in this country that this sort of thinking is becoming the norm? It’s just insane.
Yet another in the very very long list of failures by the democrats / Biden administration. Just one more reason to ask if there is anything the democrats can do correctly?
If you’re still voting democrat you are stupid
“The border is closed!” asserts the latest DHS pronouncement, when confronted with the overwhelming evidence of uncontested drug importations. Make a list of every public individual who interferes with the enforcement of legitimate laws toremind us of whom must be targeted after the next election. A good read: Fresno County farmer Victor Davis Hanson’s “The Dying Citizen.”
DIMMs are the PARTY OF DEATH : abortion, drug overdoses, unclean sexual antics, crime! Now we have “monkeypox” being spread by one of the DIMMs favorite groups!
Biden is the devil in sheeps clothing.
No. Biden is controlled by someone. But Satan is certainly the controller in some way. He controls the puppet strings wherever they are going to. He is the puppet master!