Opioid Epidemic

Now, if you’ve never been exposed to this epidemic in any form or fashion, A) you’re lucky, B) you’re probably unfamiliar with how it kills, and C) you’re a great person to spread the word about what’s going on because you’re one of the few not too busy being afflicted by this all day.

Basically, your veins can collapse, cutting off blood flow. The lining of your heart can get infected, particularly if you’re taking one of the street forms of the drug. You can experience extreme forms of sedation, which sounds nice, except that your heartbeat drops to a dangerously slow speed and our breathing becomes extremely shallow. Among all this, your immune system weakens. You won’t die from a common cold, but if you happen to cut yourself, you won’t heal as quickly. If you’re young and otherwise healthy but end up with pneumonia or mono, as is so commonly passed around in schools, then you could die from one of those if your immune isn’t strong enough to fight.

In the case of U47700, however, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to ingest the product in any form. All you have to do is think about having one, and if you make it to that stage where you’re holding it in your hand while you’re wondering whether you should take U47700, then it can kill you. It’s transdermal, which means it’ll go through your skin. So where gloves. Or just don’t touch it. If you see it, report it. Tell anyone, seriously.

So you get that it’s dangerous, but if it’s so dangerous, why is it here? Why does the government “allow” it? How come we haven’t gotten rid of it yet?

For prescription drugs, the answer is easy to explain. A reputable pharmaceutical supplier sends them here, and it’s all above board. You get a pill bottle from your doctor, and that’s it. Nothing illegal except the obvious overmedication of America that Trump is likely going to worsen.

However, synthetics have a more complex story.

Take a look at this report from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, which explains the supply chain of opioids from China to the United States and its many stops along the way. I want to be clear that this report doesn’t just talk about China. Dozens and dozens of countries are involved in spreading this epidemic, but the descriptions of such activities in almost all of these countries include one of the following phrases: “coming from China,” “originate from China,” or “imported from China.”

In other words, China produces synthetic opioids. They’re pretending independent producers are popping up left and right and that they’re having a hard time shutting them down despite having more control over their people than any other government worldwide. An operation of this scale that is this organized is centrally operated and controlled. Additionally, the Chinese government felt the need to deny their country was the biggest source of these drugs. Why say anything?

I put together the below chart to show the supply chain of synthetic opioids. As mentioned before, it starts in China. These drugs have even been seized aboard container ships heading our way. They make a quick stop in Mexico where they’re offloaded by the drug cartels there and loaded onto delivery trucks moving north. Once large dealers in the U.S. get the delivery, which measured in MEGATONS, by the way–definitely a centralized operation–they distribute to known dealers in their area. Those dealers, of course, are in touch with gangs who then distribute more locally on the street level. Finally, it’s quite common for someone addicted to a drug to seek company or, let’s say, strongly encourage, someone to join them in their habit.

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So, how do we stop these epidemics?

12 comments

  1. Thanks for shedding an incisive light on this. We need to remove the stigma of “the junkie” and start viewing sufferers as not so different from ourselves.

    1. Jessica, you’re right. They’re just like us. While one person is more susceptible to addiction, someone else is more likely to contract something that an addict would not.

      If we see the potential for ourselves to become victims, then we won’t want to marginalize, discredit, or look down upon someone who is suffering already.

      I’m glad to have you here. If you have any additional information about the opioid crisis, I’d be happy to hear from you.

    2. To me it’s just like homelessness or any social issue. There but for the grace of the Force go I.

    3. Exactly, and this is definitely a social issue, a national crisis. The White House wants to treat it like a crime and go after the addicts.

      They need to treat the wounded AND go after the criminals, but the victims aren’t the criminals.

      They should go after the opioid production companies in China that operate online pharmacies and load these drugs onto megaton container ships.

    4. Imprison more. Teach less. Increase Federal Civil Forfeiture. Beat down the poor, old, most at risk, helpless. Take away our social safety nets. Leave people uninsured. Loyalty. Restrict the First Amendment. Attack the free . Turn the people into a subclass below the super wealthy who run the country. Blind nationalism. It’s almost as if someone was trying to make the US more like an autocracy, like Russia or something.

    5. They believe they have all the answers, some incontrovertible plan that will fix everything, just so long as we fall in line or get out of the way.

      They can try to force us, but regardless of their methodology, their solutions are wrong, out of date, and out of touch, and I hope they learn that before more people get hurt.

  2. Working on the front lines of this exact problem, I think this was well written, informative, and kept the politics out of it for the most part. Very well researched and constructed.

    I don’t agree with you politically in some areas, but I think one of the best ways to combat this particular epidemic is people like you educating others in just this way. Very good job!

    1. Thank you so much for the work that you do. Since you have personal experience, please share what an individual can do on their own to stop this epidemic. Anything little they can do.

      I’m glad you’re here. At times, we’ll disagree, but it makes me just as excited to hear a dissenting opinion than my own opinion repeated back to me. That’s how we can actually get somewhere!

      If you have any additional information on the opioid epidemic, I’d love to hear from you.

    2. Individuals who ARE addicted can absolutely ask for help. I know it may seem (from the outside) that it is shameful. But healthcare workers deal with it all the time. I’d much rather hear a patient say “I think I’m addicted, can you help me out?” Than have to dodge around their vomit in the trauma room while they aspirate and die. Besides nurses are absolutely cool with questions like this, and have tons of resources to give you for free. Same with pharmacists. Will we talk about you after you’re gone? Yeah. But we’ll say things like “Hats off for that kid. He’s doing the right thing.”

      Individuals who KNOW someone who is addicted, use these resources:

      Crisis Call Center
      800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
      Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
      http://crisiscallcenter.org/crisis-services

      The National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center
      800-784-6776
      Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
      http://www.addictioncareoptions.com

      National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism
      800-662-HELP (4357)
      Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
      http://www.niaaa.nih.gov

      Let them know they’re in good hands and you want to be someone they can go to. Give them the numbers.

      Healthcare providers can help by asking the hard questions about drug therapies and how the patient takes them. Addiction is such a taboo, which is laughable, because everyone has them.

      I’ve personally seen 60 lbs of necrotic tissue carved off an ugly person’s naked backside and crotch. Complete with maggots.

      Someone asking for help for an addiction is a breath of fresh air. Literally in some cases.

      Walk into anyplace with a nurse…and just give it to them straight. It might be an awkward three minutes, but after that they’ll help you! Besides, it isn’t nearly as awkward as “fidget spinner stuck on penis” written on the ER admission board.

    3. Thank you for providing this valuable information.

      Anyone reading this should know that we all have addictions, and that’s okay. Might even be a part of being human. What’s not okay is the stigma that having an addiction makes you somehow inferior. That’s not true. We used to say a physical impairment meant you were also somehow dumber than others, and that’s now widely considered ridiculous.

      However, mental illness and addiction both seem to imply that you’re not as valuable. As a society, we need to be more mature than that.

      You’re definitely just as valuable and definitely worth saving. No matter what.

      So text or call one of the numbers above if you need help or know someone who does. It doesn’t have to be a perfect message either. “Help” will do just fine.

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