Legalizing and Managing Opioid Addiction. Fentanyl is an ingredient that drug dealers add to Cocaine or Heroin to make the drugs more potent and it is the major contributor to lethal overdoses. Drug dealers can reduce their costs by adding Fentanyl as an ingredient. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller for treating severe pain. To give you some idea of Fentanyl’s potency, it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Physicians prescribe fentanyl to patient populations with cancer pain as either transdermal patches or medicinal tablets.
Legalizing and Managing Opioid Addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fentanyl contributed to a 47% increase in lethal overdoses resulting in 70,000 deaths in 2017. The map above was from the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) showing that the majority of the Fentanyl related overdoses are occurring in the Eastern United States. The reason is that type of heroin sold in the eastern states is Powder, which mixes easily with the Fentanyl. In the contrast, states west of the Mississippi river sell Tar Heroin, which doesn’t easily mix with the heroin. To make matters even worst, the drug dealers making counterfeit prescription pills using Fentanyl. Fentanyl is easily obtainable from China, which is purchased online and shipped in the U.S. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/fentanyl.html
How to Manage the Opioid Drug Epidemic
The war on drugs began back when Richard Nixon was the U.S. President. The war on drugs is a lost cause, because for every law enforcement drug bust and seizure, there are multitudes of shipments of the Fentanyl coming in from China and Heroin coming in from Mexico.
The FBI website states that there are 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs are criminally active in the U.S. today. Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, prostitution and human trafficking, and fraud. Many gang members continue to commit crimes even after being sent to jail. https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/gangs
Many of these gangs are also affiliated with the Mexican Drug Cartels. If are own country cannot stop the illegal importation of drugs, then we should hold the countries of China and Mexico accountable for drugs illegally entering into the United States.
Addicts end up in court, county jails and state prisons for drug related offenses. The Drug Rehabilitation Treatment Centers are collectively raking in a sum total of $35 Billion dollars. Treatment Centers have a very poor success rate among those discharged patients staying in recovery. When the addict/client is discharged from treatment centers there is no case management to bridge them to a better situation and monitor their recovery. Cities are discussing having Harm Reduction Centers, where addicts can go use opioids under supervision in case someone overdoses. Police Officers are issued naloxone to help save lives from overdoses. Paramedic and EMT’s are diverted from non-drug related medical emergencies to treat overdoses.
The Solution is Legalization
Prohibiting Alcohol during prohibition was largely unsuccessful. By comparison the Fentanyl and Heroin are in demand by the people who sell it and the addicts who use it. If the government is unable to cut off the source of the opioids, then why continue to waste resources on failed methodologies? The opioid usage should be legalized because outlawing keeps everything underground.
The legalization of opioid usage, offers a number of positive outcomes
- opioid dispending pharmacies regulate impurity, & potency of heroin
- offering Harm Reduction Centers, will decreases drug overdoses
- decreased incidence of Hepatitis A, B & C
- opportunity to effectively case manage addicted clients before, during and after drug treatment
- restore and foster community relations with law enforcement
- divert law enforcement to pursue other crimes unrelated to drugs
- open up the opportunity for better drug rehabilitation research
- reduced drug related street violence
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