Libertarians say that the "War on Drugs" is all just a bunch of deep state nonsense that should be forfeited at once, treating it instead as a public health issue, as if communities have no right to decide the type of poisons infecting them from within. The problem here is in the assumption that people have the "natural right" to stupefy themselves, unaware that they eventually become a burden upon their family, friends, and society as a whole.
On top of drugs helping to fuel the fire of the ongoing homeless epidemic, the number of deaths from drug overdoses has jumped more than 200% in the last 16 years across all demographics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 52,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2015, a staggering 211% higher than the 16,849 drug overdoses in 1999 and double that of 2003, thus making drug overdoses the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States.
“We’re seeing a huge spike in the availability and a reduction in cost of heroin and fentanyl. With addictive substances, if you increase availability and reduce cost, more people use them. It’s kind of a law of nature,” CDC director Tom Frieden told The Hill back in July. More from The Hill:
CDC researchers said opioid use, which has skyrocketed since the turn of the century, is to blame for much of the increase. Opioid prescription rates have leveled off since 2012 as state and federal regulators crack down on so-called pill mills that overprescribe the drugs, a strategy that may help slow the overdose epidemic.
Overdose deaths have spiked particularly in nonmetropolitan, rural parts of the country, where the number of deaths has jumped 325 percent over the last 16 years.
Overdose death rates among Native Americans and native Alaskans in nonmetropolitan areas are up more than 500 percent. Among whites, death rates have risen by 224 percent in metropolitan areas and by 343 percent in nonmetro areas. Similar increases occurred among Hispanics.
“Reducing the number of persons initially exposed to prescription opioids might reduce the illicit use of opioids, the subsequent risk of addiction, and the use of illicit drugs,” CDC researchers said.
The study also showed that a staggering number of Americans — 22% — living in metropolitan areas have used illicit drugs in the past month. Smaller cities illicit drug use was 16%, while rural areas were at 13%.
Fortunately, drug use among younger Americans between ages 12 and 17, has steadily declined while becoming drug use has become increasingly popular for young adults around age 26. The worst concentration of drug use is for adults over 35.
It took decades to create the problem and scientists say it will take decades to reverse it.
“It took a generation to get in this bad shape, and it’s not going to be quick for it to get turned around,” Frieden said. “Turning off the tap of excess opiates from prescriptions and from the drug cartels are both going to be important, and providing services to those who are addicted and can survive is important too.”
President Trump declared the current opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday upon the release of the CDC's statistics.