Did Washington Ignore Warnings About Fentanyl?

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“We are losing an entire generation due to drugs,” said Michael Cole, the founder of Lauren’s Wish Addiction Triage Center, an organization named after the daughter he lost to a fentanyl overdose. Growing up in West Virginia, Lauren was a strong student, athletic, and kind to others. At 16 she became addicted to opioids. She died on July 9, 2020, at the age of 26.

Driven largely by fentanyl, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans ages 18 to 45. In 2020, close to 92,000 Americans died of a drug overdose, but the number rose sharply during the pandemic and lockdowns. In 2021, life expectancy in the U.S. hit its lowest point in two decades. In 2022, there were 109,000 overdose deaths, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control, with deaths from synthetic opioids up 80% over the same period and most of those attributable to fentanyl.

Other countries in the world don’t come close to America’s level of illegal drug consumption—or to its death tallies. The U.S. now consumes about 85% of all the world’s opiates. As a result, the rate of overdose deaths is around 20 times higher in America than the global average.

To understand how it is that a deadly and highly addictive poison has flooded the streets of American cities and small towns, one has to untangle the knot of connections linking Chinese drug manufacturers, Mexican cartels, and a homegrown culture of addiction that uses chemical remedies to treat economic and spiritual woes. That globalized and lethal supply chain, which is enriching criminal cartels while undoing the fabric of American life, is in part the result of shortcomings in U.S. policy, multiple former agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration told Tablet. According to them, the federal government failed to respond to repeated warnings about the coming fentanyl crisis, even as the casualties began to mount…..


Continue reading this article at Tablet Magazine.


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