Opioid Epidemic

Frankly, you can easily talk about each one separately by breaking the issue down into domestic policy and international policy.

Domestic Policy

To stop the prescription drug abuse and overdoses, there has been a lot of talk about defunding the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Remember those surveys I talked about, where the patient says they’re satisfied? Well, the doctors get money if the patient is satisfied, and if you know anyone who is hooked on painkillers, the only way to be satisfied is to get a higher and higher dose. So, if the doctor actually cares but needs the money, then they’ll see that they won’t make money by ignoring symptoms of and/or susceptibility to addiction. They’ll cut off the patient’s supply like they’re supposed to.

We can also continue getting Narcan into every ambulance, every hospital, and apparently every library in America. Other antidotes that we’ll need are naloxone, suboxone, and subutex.

We can also establish drug courts where the only thing they do is focus on drug addiction and getting people into rehab. Despite the fact that Donald Trump doesn’t care, it’s clear that at least the city of Buffalo care because their judges sometimes see addicts every single day until they’re clean. They say their goal is “keeping them alive.”

Foreign Policy

Stopping synthetics is a much more complicated issue, and frankly, again, Trump may want to stop it, which is nice because he doesn’t seem to care about anything else, but he’s the least capable.

The antidotes mentioned above won’t work because, as soon as Hillary Clinton started talking about Narcan, China switched up their formula to make a Narcan-resistant form of opioids. So now Narcan isn’t a reliable method anymore for fentanyl or any other black market opioids because we’re not going to know in advance whether it’s going to work or not.

The only way we’re going to be able to stop the synthetic opioid epidemic is through foreign policy negotiations with the big players on either end of the supply chain: China, the producers, and Mexico, the last country before the synthetics hit our streets.

Sooooo……well, China hates us, and Mexico doesn’t necessarily hate the United States but certainly thinks Donald Trump is a steaming pile. They’re not wrong. Just saying they don’t him, and none of this makes me very confident that we’ll be able to curb this epidemic.

Frankly, the best ways are going to be through international cooperation. We’re going to have to work with Mexico to stop the drugs at the border by getting them to shift their more general focus on the drug cartels to a more specific focus on synthetic opioids as it relates to the cartels. We can also work with Canada on their partnership with China. We can be a third-party observer to this cooperation, allowing us to look at the data on what China is really doing. By staying out of the decision-making, we appear to be taking a backseat, which is what China wants, but we’ll actually be collecting evidence via open information sharing environment that we have with Canada, who will be receiving the information from China in order to participate in the partnership.

We should also look at every country along the supply chain. For example, in Africa, the small country of Benin destroys all fentanyl that crosses their borders. So they’re clearly our ally on this issue. They also already have a contract with China for infrastructure development that actually spans 300 YEARS. Since they’re already aligning with China economically but supporting the fight against opioids, there’s no danger in pushing them to do more or to speak out more publically against opioids because they’ve already decided not to work with us on anything else, opting for one of China’s get-rich-quick infrastructure projects instead.We should ask for international support from any other country that isn’t susceptible to such pressures from China. If they’re already intensely loyal to China, no problem, and if they’re intent on sticking with the foreign model of the United States, that’s even better, as long as they’re not positioned in a way that makes it easy for China to bully them when they continue to align with us.

We should ask for international support from any other country that isn’t susceptible to such pressures from China. We should seek partnerships with countries that are already intensely loyal to China such that we can’t lose more or intent on sticking with the United States but that aren’t easily targeted by China for doing so, then countries  positioned in a way that makes it easy for China to bully them when they continue to align with us.

However, the most important thing we can do is fight China directly. We can sanction China. We can fine China. We can block products from China that come on the same containerships as the smuggled opioids. We can even pressure the countries whose companies sell the products that were on those containerships into sanctioning China because they’ll obviously be hurt when we block them from entering the U.S. consumer markets. All of these methods seem right in line with Trump’s style regarding international trade policy, but he hasn’t done it.

So what is Trump doing about this?

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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