The fact that the United States is losing its desperate battle against such deadly drugs as heroin and fentanyl has already been reported by various media sources, including prominent publications like Economist.
Last February, in his address to members of the US Congress, US President Donald Trump promised to put an end to America’s “terrible drug epidemic.” However, the goal of pulling the plug on the scourge of opioid abuse in America is looking more challenging by the day. To some extent, this challenge is being aggravated by the fact that drug abuse has been transformed into a form of business that has already become the fastest booming sector of the US economy. As for the government itself, they’ve been reluctant to take any decisive actions so far.
The fact that drug money are not just poisoning US business circles, but political ones as well, has recently manifested itself in the forced resignation of six US diplomats employed by the US Embassy in Afghanistan on grounds of possession of illegal drugs, Associated Press reports. Without a doubt, this will casts a dark shadow on every US official operating in Afghanistan, since there’s ever increasing number of reports that America’s “war on drugs” is only making the problem much, much worse.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the year 2015 alone more than 52,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, which translates into one death every ten minutes. Approximately 33,000 of these fatal overdoses—nearly two-thirds of them—were from opioids, including prescription painkillers, and heroin.
It’s also been discovered by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health that the number of Americans using heroin has increased five-fold in the last decade, while their dependence on mind-altering substances has more than tripled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports heroin-related overdose deaths have quadrupled since 2010, with this rate being the highest among young men aged 25-44.
It’s been reported by the Daily Caller that the state of North Carolina has virtually lost its struggle against drug abuse, with the number of heroin overdoses increasing by 900% since 2010. In turn, Colorado state officials are convinced that a practice of routine over-prescribing of painkillers has led to a massive spike in heroin death rates in the state, which has quadrupled since 1999. Nevertheless, Colorado’s death rate can hardly be compared to fatality statistics in states like Ohio, where painkiller and heroin abuse are rampant.
At the same time, this media source would note that the rate of babies who are generally exposed to narcotics while in the womb has recently spiked in Arizona by 219%. It’s depressing how many newborn babies are coming into the world suffering from excruciating opioid withdrawals due to the rising rates of heroin and painkiller abuse in the United States.
However, the same media source would argue that Arizona is not the only state experiencing rising rates of newborn deaths caused by opioids. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services revealed the rate of babies born exposed to opioids more than quadrupled over the past decade. In Missouri this increase grew by another 538% since 2006. Ohio is also experiencing similar concerns, with rates remaining extremely high in the Cincinnati region. Officials at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have recently reported a 14-fold increase in the number of newborns suffering from heroin or other opioid related withdrawals.
Additionally, a disturbing majority of businesses in the US are being negatively impacted by prescription painkiller abuse and addiction among employees, the The Daily Caller notes. A survey recently released by the National Safety Council reveals more than 70% of workplaces are feeling the negative effects of opioid abuse.
The only question one can come up with is will someone be held responsible for this recent epidemics and hundreds of thousands of deaths? Or will the Trump administration, just like Obama did before, carry on legitimizing this “business”, assuming that a formal appeal to the members of the Congress would do the trick? At this point it’s clear that Washington brings death not only to the Middle East and beyond, but also right at home, through different means but with the same amount of astounding impunity.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”