War on drugs heats up
You don’t have to walk much around Australian cities to see the scourge of drugs. And wandering around our country towns with their high unemployment levels will leave you appalled.
Do our leaders care? Well one group wants to put up a statue to drug use – that answers the question. Others overseas do care, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte really wants to clean up the issue in his country and President Donald Trump has already declared the drug overdose crisis a national emergency and is about to start a major crackdown in the US.
“Our current drug epidemic is the deadliest in American history, and it is one of the most serious and lethal issues facing this country,” declared AG Sessions during the annual conference of the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children on Tuesday in Wisconsin, revealed his prepared remarks.
Sessions noted that preliminary data shows an unprecedented 60,000 overdose fatalities took place in the United States in 2016, the latest year for which data is available.
“In 2015, more than 52,000 Americans—including more than 800 Wisconsinites—lost their lives to drug overdoses,” said the U.S. attorney general. “And the numbers we have for 2016 show another increase—a big increase. Based on preliminary data, nearly 60,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses last year.”
That means there were a historic 164 fatal overdoses each day in 2016, more than the 142 the previous year when narcotics killed 52,404 people.
“That will be the highest drug death toll and the fastest increase in that death toll in American history,” proclaimed Sessions, referring to the 2016 fatalities. “This is not a sustainable trend nor an acceptable America.”
“This epidemic is filling up our cemeteries, our emergency rooms, and equally tragic—our foster homes,” added the AG.
In May, a forensics doctor told American lawmakers that the overdose fatalities are prompting “personnel shortages” and equipment failures among coroners across the United States.
Last year, the number of people killed by drugs in the United States exceeded the worldwide total of terrorism-linked casualties, including deaths (25,621) and injuries (33,814), as documented by the U.S. State Department, Breitbart News has determined.
Sessions did not break down the 2016 overdose death toll by drug.
However, the deaths from opium-based drugs alone, the main driver behind fatal overdoses in the United States (reaching 30,525 in 2015), will likely exceed the worldwide terrorism fatalities last year.
President Trump has already declared the drug overdose crisis a national emergency. Sessions called on law enforcement and social workers to promote “a culture that’s hostile to drug use,” accusing Hollywood, the media, and government officials of sending “mixed messages about the harmfulness of drugs.”
“This is not acceptable,” declared the former Republican senator from Alabama, without naming any U.S. government officials. “We must not capitulate, intellectually or morally, to drug use. We must create and foster a culture that’s hostile to drug use.”
In recent years, opioids—like synthetic fentanyl, heroin, and opium-based pharmaceuticals—have been behind most of the record number of overdose deaths.
As U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary back in April, Gen. John Kelly, now Trump’s chief of staff, blamed Latin American drug cartels for the historic number of deaths, noting, “It’s more deaths than the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1995. In a single year, we’ve lost nearly as many Americans to drug overdose as we lost in battle in World War I. Almost as many as was lost in 12 years in Vietnam.”
Consistent with what the DHS secretary said, a bipartisan White House panel recently reported, referring to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, “With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to Sept. 11 every three weeks.”
President Trump formed the commission in late March to combat the abuse of deadly opioids like heroin, prescription painkiller medication, and synthetic fentanyl.
The White House panel’s preliminary findings succeeded in urging President Trump to declare a national emergency in response to the drug overdose epidemic gripping the United States.
Speaking to Breitbart News as a private citizen, U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko urged the American government to investigate the potential link between the increasing number of fatal drug overdoses in the United States and record production of opium and its heroin derivative in Afghanistan, the world’s top supplier of the two drugs.
Heroin alone, not including opium-based prescribed medication, was responsible for nearly a quarter (12,989) of all drug overdose deaths in 2015.
According to the DEA, a component of the AG Sessions-led Department of Justice (DOJ), only about 1 percent of the heroin seized inside the United States originates in Afghanistan, the rest comes from Latin America.
SIGAR has declared Afghanistan’s opium crisis a U.S. national security issue.
U.S.-designated terrorist groups are behind the cultivation of illicit drugs in the two countries that produce most of the heroin and cocaine in the world—Afghanistan and Colombia, respectively. While Taliban jihadists are affiliated with heroin cultivation in Afghanistan, Marxist terrorists from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are linked to the production of cocaine in Colombia.
Until recently, fatal cocaine overdoses had been steadily decreasing in the United States. Cocaine was responsible for about 13 percent (6,784) of overdose-related deaths in 2015, the highest number since 2006.
The opioid crisis is growing in America, and it may be the reason many men are dropping and staying out of the workforce, according to a new study.
Nearly half of the men in the U.S. who dropped out of the workforce are on opioid painkillers, Princeton University economist Alan Krueger wrote in a Brookings Institute study released this week.
“The opioid crisis and depressed labor-force participation are now intertwined in many parts of the U.S.,” Krueger wrote in the Brookings Institute study.
Krueger found that nearly half of the men surveyed “take pain medication on a daily basis, and in nearly two-thirds of these cases they take prescription pain medication.”
“Labor force participation has fallen more in areas where relatively more opioid pain medication is prescribed,” he wrote.Krueger said the men surveyed took painkillers either as a result of being out of the workforce for a prolonged period or because they had a condition that required the use of painkillers and could not work because of the condition.
“The results of this survey underscore the role of pain in the lives on nonworking men, and the widespread use of prescription pain medication,” he wrote. “Fully 47 percent of NLF (not in labor force) prime age men responded that they took pain medication on the previous day.”
He added that nearly two-thirds of the men who took pain medication said they were taking prescription meds.
“These figures likely understate the actual proportion of men taking prescription pain medication given the stigma and legal risk associated with reporting taking narcotics,” Krueger said.
NBC News cites data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show the labor force participation rate, comprised of people who are working or actively looking for work, reached an all-time high of 67.3 percent in the U.S. in early 2000.
The labor force participation rate reached a 40-year low in September 2015, dipping to 62.4 percent, as the American economy grew very slowly under former President Barack Obama.
Krueger said the labor participation rate in the past decade declined faster than the decade preceding it.
“The share of non-college educated young men who did not work at all over the entire year rose from 10 percent in 1994 to more than 20 percent in 2015,” he wrote.
The decline roughly coincides with the beginning of the opioid epidemic, when the number of unintentional overdoses from prescription painkillers quadrupled since 1999, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
A survey from NIDA found that 91.8 million people, roughly one in three Americans, used opioid painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin in 2015.