Saturday, March 11, 2023

The Fentanyl and the Synthetic Opioid Crisis

I believe my first blog post about fentanyl was this past September, titled What Should We Do About Fentanyl? It included a 10-point plan from the controversial Dilbert creator Scott Adams. Whatever you might say about the list, it's a discussion starter. The issue is a huge one now, and it appears to be unrelenting.

I know of several new deaths in the past six weeks from fentanyl, including one too close to home, and as a result I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. 

In mid-February I looked into the manner in which the Vietnam War was covered as opposed to the coverage of our fentanyl scourge. I remember watching the news back then and almost every night they gave a body count of American kids who had died "over there." When I learned that almost twice as many Americans died in a single year from fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times as strong as morphine, as died in all of the ten years of the Vietname War, I was surprised and appalled. 

Yesterday NPR did another story on the Ukraine conflict, citing Russian missiles killing 8 Ukrainian civilians. On this very same day there were hundreds of fentanyl deaths, and the day before and no doubt today. Where is the media coverage on this?

OK, yes, there are stories in the news, but it's absolutely nothing like the coverage on the Russia-Ukraine war this past year, not even close. Nor anything like the coverage of our activities in Southeast Asia in the 60's.

* * * *

This week I heard rumors of an excessive number of fentanyl deaths here in Duluth. And from another source I heard that it's a "bad batch of fentanyl" killing a lot of people from Ohio to the Northland. Where are the police in all this? Where is the media?

One of the things I've been pondering is why there has been such a demand for these synthetic opioids? I'm not ignorant of the drug scene. I grew up at a time when it seemed drug experimentation was part of growing up. It feels like something more sinister is happening. There's been a significant cultural shift. Is it a loss of hope?

Duluth distributes more than 500,000 needles to users to help them inject drugs "safely" without having to share needles (and pass around diseases like hepatitits). Does this activity imply that injecting drugs is OK and has governmental approval?

What follows are links to stories about fentanyl from this week's Google alerts. Yes, there is some media coverage, but nothing like many other stories that are being broadcast daily. 

* * * *

California driver busted in Michigan with enough fentanyl to kill 3 million people

Mexican president to US: Fentanyl is your problem

Reason to worry about fentanyl in American schools

Mexican president to US: Fentanyl is your problem

Watch “America Addicted: The Fentanyl Crisis” tonight at 9 p.m. ET. CNN —. The addiction epidemic driven by fentanyl that has cost more than 100,000 ...

CNN goes inside Mexico's fight to stem flow of fentanyl

CNN's David Culver traces the path of fentanyl from Chinese chemical factories to Mexico, where cartels back the production of the deadly drug.

Fentanyl abuse, trafficking, and overdoses are not at historic lows. There is a strong case that ..

18K fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone seized in Oakland County drug bust arrest 
'These pills had the strength to kill a single person with just one dose.'

Fentanyl crisis: Bay Area schools step up training for Narcan - The Mercury News

The Mercury News

Fentanyl crisis: Fury grows over Bay Area school districts that still aren't ready to save an overdosing student. The good news: Many schools are ...

Exclusive: What's driving record high fentanyl deaths in the Tri-Cities area?

Tri-City Herald

Fentanyl overdoses killed a record number in 2022 in Tri-Cities WA, partly because prescription opioids are harder to get.

Authorities concerned about new form of fentanyl turning up in Montana | KECI
Officials report a shocking increase in fentanyl seizures in Montana -- up nearly 11000% since 2019.Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen says ...
California Lawmakers Told Treatment, Not Punishment, Will End Fentanyl Crisis
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – California lawmakers heard testimony urging treatment, not punishment, should be used to resolve the fentanyl crisis after ...

Officer names fentanyl as 'leading cause of overdose deaths' following Southern Utah arrest
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat the nation has ever encountered. File photo for illustrative ...
* * * * 
Like many people, my patient was completely unaware of the way that his opioid medication was working.

Renewed hope for combating the opioid crisis in Arizona
The Banner Health Foundation is using a recent influx of funding to help put a stop to opioid deaths across the state. Author: Trisha Hendricks.

'It's health discrimination'; Staten Island addiction expert criticizes lack of funding in NY ...
... it doesn't adequately allocate money needed to fight the opioid crisis. ... on its website detailing the sales of opioids sold in New York; ...

* * * * 

Cause of death: Washington faltered as fentanyl gripped America

What are your thoughts on this? 
Has it touched your family or circle of friends yet? 
Please leave a comment.
Illustration by the author, A.I. modified version of one of my paintings

1 comment:

LEWagner said...

The government and Big Pharma have had a long partnership in greatly exaggerating or even making up out of thin air the "dangers" of natural medicinal products. At the same time, they have a history of minimizing or completely denying the very real dangers and death statistics from chemically produced and unnatural high-profit pharmaceutical products that they are selling, pushing and mandating, and (in the case of psychiatic drugs), FORCING people to take against their will. They even go so far as to censor TRUE information on the adverse effects (including possible death) from use of their products.

There has never been a single death from overdose of cannabis (marijuana), a plant that grows naturally -- yet how many billions of dollars have been spent on ludicrous fear propaganda, plus arrests, prosecution, and imprisonment of people for use of that natural product? This link gives a fascinating history of the government's prohibition of cannibas, and exposes the lies and corruption behind it.

My own family and I were victims of a 1998 raid by the Lake Superior Drug Task Force, in which 10 police officers came onto my property. They were armed, but had no warrant. They entered my house with guns drawn, then held my daughter, my son-in-law, my son and myself basically at gunpoint in the hot 90+ degree sun for roughly 4 hours, until they finally got a warrant and finished "searching" my 40 acres for MARIJUANA. They had no evidence or even probable cause to show that we were planting any. They had overflown my garden with a helicopter at very low altitude the day before, at who knows how much cost to the taxpayers. There was no marijuana growing anywhere, so if they told a judge that they had seen some, in order to get a warrant, they were lying. After terrifying us and wasting most of our day, they finally left without an apology. My son asked the head of the Task Force, "Will this be on the front page of the Duluth News Tribune tomorrow?" The head of the Task Force sneered and answered, "Not everything that happens in Duluth gets into the Duluth News Tribune." Here is a fuller account of that frightening experience.

So it isn't surprising -- though it is certainly heartbreaking and tragic -- that so many people just sneer derisively at newspaper, government and police warnings about the dangers of whatever illicit drug is currently in vogue.

This link gives many of the statistics of the "Drug War", and does include deaths from over-dose.

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