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Politicians and the media are punishing your doctor, not drug traffickers, for our drug crisis

Conservative Review

On the so-called opioid crisis, the media and political class are continuing to treat a migraine by amputating a toe. We have plain but totally ignored evidence and data showing that the record fatalities from drugs are a national security-related many-drug crisis brought on by drug cartels, the surge in Central American immigration, and sanctuary cities, not prescription opioids.

Yesterday, the New York Times and other media outlets posted articles headlining the record 72,000 deaths from drugs in 2017, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). They immediately proceeded to make the issue all about addiction and health care and prescription opioids when, in fact, prescription deaths are down dramatically in most states and the entirety of the surge in deaths is from illicit drugs and poisonous substances laced into other drugs by cartels and drug traffickers, not doctors.

Meanwhile, Roll Call reports that red-state Democrats are trying to save their seats by passing more expensive drug-monitoring programs and more government involvement in health care. In fact, these are the very same politicians who have created and exacerbated the problem with open borders, sanctuary cities, weak immigration laws, and the dismantling of tough-on-crime policies.

There are two reasons why the political class cannot tell the truth about the nature and cause of the epidemic-level increase in fatalities since the border surge of 2014: It implicates their open-borders agenda, and it implicates their agenda to decriminalize drug trafficking as part of “criminal justice reform.” These are two sacred cows with the weight of the political and corporate universe behind them. It’s a lot easier to treat doctors like drug traffickers and stable, chronic pain patients like drug addicts than to address the real drug cartels. And to the extent that there is a health care problem, a lot of it is because of the Medicaid program creating a pipeline of diverted prescriptions on the streets. That is another political untouchable.

According to the preliminary 2017 data (still just an estimate), only 14,330 of the fatalities were from prescription opioids, which is fewer than the 16,800 in 2016 and in line with the long-standing trend. And as I’ve explored ad nauseum in this column, most of those deaths are due to mixing with illicit drugs, sleeping pills, or alcohol. In addition, there is strong evidence that a number of the fatalities listed on death certificates as morphine-related were really from heroin. In other words, pain patients or post-op patients who need painkillers and have no history of abuse or mental or emotional issues rarely overdose. Yet they are being harmed by government clamping down on prescriptions while ignoring the illicit drug trade.

In an article in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health, CDC researchers admitted that previous government data inaccurately conflated prescription drug deaths with illicit street drug deaths. They conceded that although “opioid-involved deaths were at their greatest levels ever in 2016 … prescription opioid-involved deaths estimated more conservatively have leveled off since 2012.”

A look at the CDC’s state-by-state data, as well as other data I’ve compiled from more accurate state health agencies in the most affected states, reveals the following:

  • Fentanyl is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. It is directly responsible for the most fatalities and is responsible for many of the fatalities from other drugs because it is laced in by the cartels and distributors.
  • Heroin deaths have declined over last year, being supplanted by fentanyl, but are still at very high levels.
  • Cocaine and meth, which aren’t opiate-based, continue to be the fastest-growing problems. They are exclusively the result of increased Mexican drug cartel trafficking and MS-13 activity. Meth is mainly a problem in white parts of the country, while cocaine is ravaging predominantly black areas, such as Baltimore. Fentanyl is being laced into these drugs, which is making them even deadlier. The role of sanctuary cities as major hubs is unmistakable.
  • Alabama has the highest rate of prescriptions in the entire country! Yet the state has a low rate of prescription deaths, and it is getting lower. Heroin and fentanyl are the main problems but are finally peaking. And cocaine and meth are now surging. Yes, this is a Mexican drug cartel problem, not a problem with your doctor.
  • As another proof that this is a general cultural problem, there has been an uptick in fatalities from benzodiazepines, which are sleeping pills/anxiety drugs. Fentanyl is being laced into that supply as well. This has nothing to do with a prescription opioid addiction.

Even Canadian officials are now concerned that the vast network of Mexican drug cartels in America are creating a new Canadian fentanyl problem, yet our media refuses to recognize the Mexican cartels as the primary source of our own problem.

The Senate is now working on dozens of bills designed to spend more money, clamp down on doctors, and harm pain patients. But legislators refuse to recognize the border and sanctuary problem. Worse, they are working on convincing Trump to go weaker on drug traffickers. We’re not talking about your parents’ marijuana here.

Sen. Tom Cotton perfectly illustrated the insane hypocrisy of the political class on this issue:

As I observed earlier this week, a growing part of this problem is synthetic marijuana sold at Yemeni-owned convenient stores and mini-marts containing rat poison. Twenty youngsters dropped like flies in a Connecticut park yesterday after overdosing on a bad batch of synthetic marijuana. This is not a health care issue; it’s a cultural issue tied into a national security issue.

Several weeks ago, four people died and over 300 were sickened in the D.C. area as youngsters dropped in the streets like zany zombies from what is believed to be a poisoned batch of K2 synthetic marijuana. The CDC believes that 255 people have died the same way this year.

A sane country that believed this was a true emergency would:

  • Immediately build the wall
  • End the flow of Central Americans into the country
  • Ban all sanctuary cities
  • Raise, not lower, penalties for and prosecution of drug traffickers
  • Take military action against the cartels violating our sovereignty and poisoning our people

Instead, politicians did the exact opposite on those issues and then severely limited pain medication for those who never overdose. Cutting off legitimate pain medication while flooding our country with Mexican drug cartels and releasing drug traffickers from prison might be the most insane and toxic mix of policies the government has pursued in recent memory. At this point, the pendulum on prescription killers has swung too far the other way, the same way the pendulum on de-incarceration of drug traffickers has already swung too far.

This disgraceful amalgamation of government inanity – pursuing a witch hunt against doctors and coddling drug traffickers – will either exacerbate the growing suicide crisis or push more otherwise stable people into the street market of dangerous poisonous drugs, thanks to open borders and the war against prosecuting drug traffickers. The real opioid crisis is the ignorance of the politicians – a very expensive commodity indeed.

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