As hard as it may be to believe in a world with round-the-clock news coverage, there remain plenty of serious issues that don’t receive anywhere near the attention they deserve.
Our nation’s opioid crisis is one of them. While there’s the occasional perfunctory report that makes the rounds to tell us that things are bad on that front, it doesn’t appear that the true scope of the problem is being digested.
In short, families are being destroyed, neighborhoods are being ravaged, and addiction rates are on the rise at an alarming pace. Opioid addiction is a scourge on our nation that simply must be dealt with.
The authorities are doing what they can with the resources at their disposal, but it’s a losing battle when so many people have been overcome by addiction.
Quite simply, a person that’s overwhelmed by addiction is going to find what they crave through any means necessary. Whether that means stealing to fund their habits or other unseemly behaviors, they will get their fix – even if their fix is what will ultimately lead to their demise.
There are plenty of dealers out there willing to feed the beast with no thought given to the consequences. The fact that their customers are destroying themselves and their families does not outweigh the almighty dollar in their minds.
To keep the pipeline full, there are vast distribution networks that pride themselves on outsmarting the law. While they know the chances are that they will eventually get caught or wind up dead, the name of the game is to score as much cash as possible before that happens.
Recently, the jig was up for one section of a vast network. While that’s fantastic news, a closer examination of the details reveals the scope of the problem at hand.
NBC New York reports:
Authorities confiscated nearly 195 pounds of fentanyl in a pair of busts that prosecutors said included one sting that netted 32 million lethal doses of the drug, an opioid 50 times stronger than heroin.
Allow that to sink in for a moment. A single dose of fentanyl can kill a person. Yet, there remains a huge market for it. Addicts completely dismiss the risk in order to get what they crave, and dealers are more than happy to flood the market as a result.
Four people were arrested after the busts in August and September that also netted 75 pounds of heroin and cocaine. Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor, said the busts come as overdose deaths hit an all-time high in New York’s five boroughs in 2016.
“The sheer volume of fentanyl pouring into the city is shocking,” she said. “It’s not only killing a record number of people in New York City, but the city is used as a hub of regional distribution for a lethal substance that is taking thousands of lives throughout the Northeast.”
When the average person thinks about drug-riddled streets, the first thought that pops into the mind is the inner city. While it’s true that drugs remain a huge problem in those spots, the drug-riddled streets are popping up all over the place.
This is not the suburbia of our youth in which there’s the occasional house party that parents have to be concerned about. If the parents themselves are not addicted, they find themselves riddled with fear about the things their precious little ones are exposed to on a daily basis.
Prosecutors say the drugs are worth a street value of $30 million.
Of the roughly 64,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2016, more than 20,000 involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As addiction rates rise, more folks leave the workforce entirely – either voluntarily, or because they can no longer function well enough to hold down a paying job.
That does severe damage to the surrounding economy as the addiction spreads to other pockets of town, and once-thriving neighborhoods are now a shell of themselves.
Add it all up, and much more needs to be done to win the war on drugs. Part of the battle comes from increased awareness. Those that are fortunate enough not to reside in a community that’s been effected would be wise to perk up and listen as well.
Thinking that it can’t possibly happen to your community is a fool’s errand, as there were many now-dilapidated communities that thought the same about a decade ago.
Source: NBC New York