Fentanyl Overdose Rates Are Rising Fast

The latest tally of fatal drug overdoses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows nearly 108,000 fatalities in 2021. This is far more than in 2017, when President Trump declared drug deaths a public-health emergency. Among blacks, the drug mortality rate has quadrupled in less than eight years.

The Trump administration acted aggressively and directed agencies to implement several recommendations from the Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. These included changes to prescribing patterns, treatment paradigms and law-enforcement procedures. The rate of deaths from drug overdoses slowed and then dipped. But then Covid hit, with all its mental-health consequences. The addiction and overdose crisis is now the most important public-health issue facing the country.

Apart from asking Congress for more money, the Biden administration hasn’t focused on this crisis. President Biden’s most recent budget pays scant attention to it, while his National Drug Control Strategy provides resources, such as clean syringe programs, that aren’t coupled with strategies to help patients beat their addictions.

Most of the additional fatal overdoses post-Covid involve methamphetamine and fentanyl made in Mexico, China and India. For each overdose death, more than 100 people struggle with debilitating addictions to these dangerous substances.

The full article can be found in The Wall Street Journal.

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