Ken Blackwell: How Border Security Can Help End the Opioid Crisis

 

Recent bipartisan legislation is a good start—but there’s more to do.

In my decades of public service, I’ve never seen anything like the opioid epidemic ravaging our nation right now. Last year, nearly 50,000 Americans died from overdoses involving opioids. That was an increase of nearly 7,000 from 2016—which was itself an increase of about 9,000 from 2015. The numbers have been climbing for nearly two decades now, thanks in large part to the introduction of a synthetic drug called fentanyl.

Fentanyl is powerful pain medication—100 times stronger than morphine—often used as a sedative for large animals. Just 2 milligrams of the substance is lethal to an adult, making it almost as deadly as ricin. What has made it especially fatal is that it is now often laced into other drugs, such as heroin, pills, and even marijuana, without the users knowing it. Narcotics Police have even abandoned field tests of drugs out of fear they may accidentally come into contact with fentanyl.

Take a look at what’s happened in my home state: Ohio has the second-most opioid overdose deaths in the nation last year, with a total of 4,329 deaths, or 39.1 per 100,000 people. The city of Dayton is the birthplace of the Wright Brothers, inventors of flight, but addicts seeking more dangerous highs have helped the city become known as America’s overdose capital—more overdoses occur in Dayton than anywhere else in the nation. The reason behind this is the same for why there is so much human trafficking in the area: the interchange of Interstate-70 and Interstate-75 lies just outside the city. Smugglers use this highway interchange to move people, guns, and drugs north to Canada, or east to the coast. Almost every drug that gets to New York travels up from the southern border and through Dayton.

Fortunately, Republicans and Democrats alike have recognized the seriousness of the opioid crisis and are acting in bipartisan manner to solve it. President Trump last week signed into law the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which takes a multifaceted approach to the problem by addressing treatment, recovery, and prevention. The bill passed the House 396-14 in June and the Senate 99-1 earlier this month, a heartening sign of bipartisanship in these polarized times.

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Source: Christian Post