How to reduce deaths from fentanyl

First, sincere sympathy to anyone who has lost a loved one to the deadly fentanyl tide unleashed on America by China.

Heart-broken Mom names wrong culprit in the death of her sons

This may seem harsh: If the victim bought their drugs from a “friend” or nonauthorized source, don’t blame anyone but them. Blaming the victim?

Yes, and it is completely justified. In the same sense that when a smoker dies of lung cancer, I feel bad, but what did the smoker expect? The risks were obvious.

Rebecca Kiessling is blaming President Joe Biden for the July 2020 deaths of her two sons, Caleb, 20, and Kyler, 18, along with their friend Sophie Harris, 17.

They bought what they thought was Percocet from a “friend” and died when they took the drugs that came from — let’s face it — a criminal.

Kiessling is a lawyer and pro-life activist who said “the president owes me an apology” for the deaths of her children.

They were killed by fentanyl under the Trump Administration, Biden explained at a news conference, with a kind of ironic chortle. Their deaths did not happen on his watch.

The right-wing media portrayed it as Biden laughing at the Mom or the victims. That is a total distortion.

The right wing outrage machine also insists on creating a false link  between the massive invasion at the southern border, and the proliferation of drugs.

While some drugs may be carried by illegal immigrants, every decent source I have read says that the overwhelming percentage of drugs come in at border crossings, hidden in vehicles that are too numerous for Border Patrol to check.

Biden is to blame for the Open Border for people.

China and Mexico are responsible for the flow of drugs.

And, yes, the purchasers are also responsible. They create an insatiable demand, which led to an estimated 100,000 American deaths last year. Deaths from drugs have exploded in the last decade.

Opioids are behind the explosion of drug deaths. (CDC Chart)

The deaths have been accelerated by the explosion of deadly opioids. It is not as if the deadly results of fentanyl is not known. We all know, like we know the risks of smoking. Drug users must assume responsibility for their actions. Society’s role is to provide them with rehabilitation, maybe even force them into it.

In a House hearing, a tearful Kiessling accurately described the fentanyl scourge as an act of war against the U.S., and congress has its thumb up its ass.

While we can pressure China — in that police state they know who is cooking and sending the drug materials to Mexico — to reel in its criminals.

We can pressure Mexico, which is sliding toward status as a narco state in which the drug kingpins buy politicians with abandon and use their private army to face down Mexico’s actual army.

Some have suggested we declare the drug criminals “terrorists” and go after them with the full weight of the CIA and our elite military special forces.

Not bad ideas. Here’s another: A massive educational campaign, centering on social media and TV and streaming services, pushing the accurate warnings that drugs bought through illegal sources are killers.

Yes, a return to Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign, with the memorable image of a frying egg as a brain on drugs. We should recruit celebrities to get the message out, and use morgue pictures of victims, the scarier the better. I’d also hand out fentanyl-finding test strips, although I don’t have much confidence that addicts would use them.

We live in a pill-popping culture. Getting high is more of a national pastime than baseball. We all know that, and the use of  heroin has destroyed untold lives. But heroin use is actually declining.

It has been replaced by opioids and others.

Cutting off the supply is difficult and long-term.

The short-term solution is for parents, and friends of potential drug users, to get into their heads the idea that they are playing Russian Chinese Roulette when they order a pill from a friend, dealer, or unknown online source.

The contents of pills bought that way also are unknown. Better to tell them to get drunk on beer or flavored vodka, assuming you can’t convince them that they don’t need to get high.

The blame attaches to the self-destructive addict.

18 thoughts on “How to reduce deaths from fentanyl”

  1. Decriminalize drugs and remove the profit incentive for drug dealing. The “War on Drugs” is an abject failure.

  2. Our government owns a share of the blame. If opioids were legal, the crimes of the narco traffickers would dissappear and users could legally buy drugs of known purity so they didn’t OD.

    We tried prohibition before. How did it work out?

      1. Stu, I didn’t suggest “putting government in charge”. That’s what we have today. I want government to stop being in charge of drug prohibition.

  3. Drugs are the users’ substitute for what is lacking in their lives: a closeness to the Creator. Mankind uses many substitutes for this closeness: illegal drugs, alcohol, sex, power, money, et cetera; the list is virtually endless. Grasping at power, or money, or reveling in the transient nature of sex or wealth accumulation, or any of the other addictions, what is always missing is the belief — the sureness — that life is transient and fleeting, and one day will end. Then we will face the Creator and our eyes will be opened to the truth of the mess we made of our lives, and the understanding of the emptiness of the substitute we used for the Creator. Believe in a Creator or don’t, it doesn’t matter to the Creator. As the psalmist wrote thousands of years ago, “The fool says in his heart ‘there is no God.'”

  4. Good thoughts SB, but I believe it will take more than just one idea to curb the crisis. The challenge I have with the advertising is that it’s usually the “first AND LAST line of defense” the gov uses to “educate” us. Let’s do some marketing! Let’s spend some serious $$$ on a slick ad campaign: on-site video shoots, write checks to the necessary influencers, copywriters word smithing the perfect slogans and thoughts. Hasn’t ever really moved the needle; even the rona vax campaigns didn’t impact a big percentage of the country. Yes let’s educate, BUT also use our muscle to help fix the problem.
    You piece made me think of the latest Philly ad campaign you’ll see on SEPTA buses now that suggests drivers look for people crossing the street and stop running red lights. See, the Hit and run problem solved! ;0). Maybe a nice fine or two (or anything) for people running the lights may help as well? Stay awesome my friend.

  5. Very insightful approach to the epidemic that has killed so many. Thanks for clarifying that President Biden is NOT responsible for our Nations decades long drug epidemic. You do however neglect to mention the drug companies, specifically Purdue Pharma, and others that flooded the Country with drugs falsely claiming they were NON-addictive. And the greedy Doctors who ran pill mills.

    I also agree with some of the comments that removing the profit motive from illegal drug trafficking would dramatically reduce the problem but the question is how would that be done? Would stores sell Opioids, similar to what is happening with marijuana? We need a “Think Tank” to address this issue.

  6. Let’s start the education process about the dangers of drug use with Sesame Street shows. Let’s eliminate sexual identification classes for 4th, 5th & 6th graders and replace them with instructions on the dangers of legal and illegal drug use. Information about the effects of legal & illegal drug use should be mandatory for all women who are pregnant. Information on where help is available for those living in addiction should be provided by all social service agencies, police departments and hospital staffs. Hopefully the information provided and services available can reduce the enormous harm of drug addiction.

  7. The first step could be a questionnaire to our neighbors in the Kensington and Allegheny area to find out what failed and what could be a solution. A short list of current programs available today includes: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
    Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
    Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
    Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)
    Marijuana Anonymous (MA)
    Nicotine Anonymous (NICA)
    Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA):
    Twelve-Step Programs for Family and Friends of Individuals with Substance Use Disorders
    Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA): This program focuses on supporting adult children of alcoholics.
    Al-Anon (and Alateen): This program provides help for those affected by someone else’s drinking.
    Nar Anon: This program provides help for those affected by someone else’s substance use.
    SMART Recovery: This is a scientifically (rather than spiritually) oriented program.
    They all list their own statistics of their cure rate which is questionable based on those taking addiction programs over and over again. The government rarely funds any of these types of programs so what is the best recourse? A well-versed committee of local, state, and federal participants who have backgrounds in addiction education along with some former clean addicts to look at all possibilities including all of the good ones above. Incarceration in unused military barracks for multiple offenders. Stiffer penalties for distributors, foreign sanctions against countries that have the labs that produce the drugs, and finally an educational awareness in our schools given by ex-addicts on the death and destruction of our young.

  8. I’m glad you brought up “Just say NO.” Nancy Regan was mocked for that but she was absolutely right. When I’ve brought that up to people in the past I’ve been told that I’m naive, that it’s just stupid to say that, and that I simply don’t understand. But every addict was offered drugs the first time. I doubt there’s an addict anywhere who wouldn’t agree that if they had just said NO that first time, and continued to say no, they wouldn’t be dependent on drugs today. Such a scourge.

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