Copyright © 2010 by Gary Bachlund
Envoi: "...deaths are on the rise from overdoses of all sorts of drugs, despite efforts to formulate them in ways that make the drugs more difficult to abuse. 'The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose (poisoning) deaths,' the CDC's report reads. 'Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent, including a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin).' More people die from drug overdoses, CDC says, than in road accidents." In "Drug Overdose Deaths Hit 'Alarming' New Record in U.S., CDC Says," by Maggie Fox, NBC News, 18 December 2015.
Addendum of Epidemic Drug Abuse: "The fact that drug money are not just poisoning US business circles, but political ones as well has recently been manifested by the forced resignation of six US diplomats that were employed by the US Embassy in Afghanistan on the ground of them being in possession of illegal drugs, Associated Press reports. Without a doubt, this will casts a dark shadow on every US official operating in Afghanistan, since there’s an ever number of reports that America’s 'war on drugs' is only getting the problem much, much worse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the year 2015 alone more than 52,000 Americans died of drug overdose, which translates in one death every ten minutes. Approximately 33,000 of these fatal overdoses—nearly two-thirds of them—were from opioids, including prescription painkillers, and heroin. It’s also been discovered by the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health that the number of Americans using heroin has increased five-fold in the last decade, while their dependence on mind-altering substances more than tripled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports heroin-related overdose deaths have quadrupled since 2010, with this rate being the highest among young men aged 25-44." In "US Struggles to Put an End to the Deadly Drug Abuse Epidemic," by Jean Périer, New Eastern Outlook, 15 April 2017.
Addendum of Higher: "In 2015, the most recent year for which full statistics are available, 33,091 Americans died from opioid overdoses, according to the Centres for Disease Control—almost three times the number who perished in 2002. Nearly as many Americans were killed by opioids in 2015 as were killed by guns (36,132) or in car crashes (35,092). In the state of Maryland, which releases more timely figures, drug-overdose deaths were 62% higher in the first nine months of 2016 than a year earlier." In "Inside the opioid epidemic," Economist, 11 May 2017.
Addendum after Addenda: "The coast-to-coast opioid epidemic is swamping hospitals, with government data published Tuesday showing 1.27 million emergency room visits or inpatient stays for opioid-related issues in a single year. The 2014 numbers, the latest available for every state and the District of Columbia, reflect a 64 percent increase for inpatient care and a 99 percent jump for emergency room treatment compared to figures from 2005. Their trajectory likely will keep climbing if the epidemic continues unabated. The report, released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), puts Maryland at the very top of the national list for inpatient care." In "In just one year, nearly 1.3 million Americans needed hospital care for opioid-related issues," by Joel Achenbach and Dan Keating, Washington Post, 20 June 2017.
Addendum of a Surfeit of Drug Abuse: "A slew of reports finds a fresh reason for the chronic inability of American companies to fill skilled jobs: not a lack of skills, and hence a training-and-education crisis, but a surfeit of drug abuse. Simply put, prime-working age Americans without a college diploma are often too drugged-out to get the best jobs. Opioids remain at high levels, but the surge in drug use is now heroin and the powerful contaminant fentanyl. The reports suggest a circularity to the crisis in America's rust and manufacturing belts: the loss of jobs and wage stagnation has led to widespread disaffection, alienation and drug abuse; and drug abuse has led to joblessness, hopelessness and disaffection." In "Many Americans are too drugged-out to work," by Steve LeVine, Axios, 30 July 2017.
Addendum of the Prescribers: "Researchers found that more than one third of U.S. adults were prescribed the medications in 2015 and many also misused the drugs. 'A very large proportion and large number of adults use these medications in a given year,' said study author Dr. Wilson Compton, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland. 'I was still a bit surprised that 38 percent or about 92 million people used prescription opioids in 2015.' Limited data on the prescription of opioids and their abuse are available despite the number of deaths from drug overdoses in the U.S. having quadrupled between 1999 and 2015, Compton and his colleagues write in the Annals of Internal Medicine, online July 31." In "More than a third of US adults prescribed opioids in 2015," by Andrew M. Seaman, Reuters, 1 August 2017.
Addendum 0f Sheer Volume: "Officers seized nearly 270 pounds of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine worth $30 million during separate busts, law enforcement officials said Monday. They also arrested four people. 'The sheer volume of fentanyl pouring into the city is shocking,' said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan." In "Record bust: enough fentanyl to kill 32 million people seized in Queens," by Aliza Chasan, WPIX-TV, New York, 18 September 2017.
Addendum of More Than Ever: "The growing drugs crisis sweeping across the US is deadlier than gun violence, car crashes or Aids, none of which have killed as many Americans in a single year as overdoses did in 2017." In "Why are more Americans than ever dying from drug overdoses?" by Niko Kommenda, Erin Durkin and Lydia Smears, Guardian UK, 29 November 2018.
Addendum of Bribes and Kickbacks: "The former chief executive of Insys Therapeutics Inc (INSY.O) pleaded guilty on Wednesday to participating in a nationwide scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe an addictive opioid medication and has agreed to become a government witness. Michael Babich, who resigned as the Arizona-based drugmaker’s CEO in 2015, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to conspiracy and mail fraud charges after entering into a cooperation deal with prosecutors." In "Former Insys CEO pleads guilty to opioid kickback scheme," by Nate Raymond, Reuters, 9 January 2019.
Addendum of Frisco's Growing Epidemic: "There are about 24,500 injection drug users in San Francisco — that's about 8,500 more people than the nearly 16,000 students enrolled in San Francisco Unified School District’s 15 high schools and illustrates the scope of the problem on the city's streets. It's also an increase of about 2,000 serious drug users since 2012, the last time a study was done. 'There is an opioid epidemic in this country, and San Francisco is no exception,' Deputy Director of Health Dr. Naveena Bobba said." In "San Francisco — where drug addicts outnumber high school students," by Phil Matier, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 January 2019.
Addendum of His Undoing: "After many restaurant jobs through the 1980s and 1990s, Holys says his undoing came with an addiction to crack cocaine. He stole to fuel his habit and spent a total of eight years in prison. 'I was the type of guy who would break into your car and steal the change in your ashtray,' he said. But it was not until several years after his last release from jail, in 2010, that addiction again took over and no one from his fractured family was there to catch him."
In "A tuxedoed sommelier joins homeless ranks in Bay Area," by Thomas Fuller, New York Times, 28 September 2019.