Tag Archives: drugs

Leading Cause of Death for Americans Aged 18-45 is NOT Covid—It’s Fentanyl

Matt Agorist 
December 20, 2021

Because the state enforces a drug war that outlaws far safer alternatives, fentanyl has taken the illegal drug market by storm and these synthetic opioids that are extremely dangerous are flooding the streets and leaving piles of bodies in their wake. Make no mistake, fentanyl is dangerous and kills people by the thousands but the government’s response to it is causing far more harm than good.

Instead of realizing the dangers brought on by enforcing a war on drugs which has led to the thriving illicit fentanyl market, the state resorts to violence, fear tactics, and propaganda to unsuccessfully scare people into compliance.

Well, the state need no longer use propaganda as new data from the federal government is shocking enough by itself. “Families Against Fentanyl,” an opioid awareness organization, analyzed the data from U.S. government sources and that found that suicide, car accidents, and gun violence — which used to be the top killers of folks aged 18-45 — have taken a back seat to the new number one killer: fentanyl.

The group found that 37,208 people between 18 and 45 died from a fentanyl overdose in 2020 and 41,587 have died so far in 2021.

“This is a national emergency. America’s young adults — thousands of unsuspecting Americans — are being poisoned,” the founder of Families Against Fentanyl, James Rauh, said according to Fox News. “It is widely known that illicit fentanyl is driving the massive spike in drug-related deaths. A new approach to this catastrophe is needed.”

It’s not just that age group either, thanks to the government-imposed lockdowns, 2020 marked the deadliest year in history for fatal drug overdoses with fentanyl claiming the lives of individuals from all age groups.

According to Families Against Fentanyl, fentanyl deaths in America across all age groups doubled from 32,754 fatalities to 64,178 fatalities in just two years between April 2019 and April 2021, according to the data.

Sadly, although this group is correct on the statistics of fentanyl overdose, their solution to the problem is more drug war. Families Against Fentanyl wants lawmakers to designate the drug as a “weapon of mass destruction” saying doing so could “save lives”.

Such an Order will unify the federal government’s approach to fentanyls and allow for better coordination across the executive branch and with state and local authorities. It will allow U.S. national intelligence to play a greater role in assisting law enforcement and empower the Department of Defense to share expertise and technology to improve detection and interdiction efforts. It will allow the federal government to become more engaged in tracking and disrupting the finances of fentanyl traffickers. It will provide a mandate to ensure the U.S. is prepared to respond to a mass-casualty event involving fentanyls, regardless of what might cause it. And it will act as a deterrent to those who might otherwise consider trafficking in fentanyls, irrespective of their intent.

This WMD designation would not stop the flow of fentanyl as the US government is already heavily entrenched in a drug war and drugs, as we have seen over the last two decades, are winning that war.

Those of us based in reality see that prohibition is what has driven the market for fentanyl. Without the war on drugs, fentanyl would likely not be a problem at all.

Much of the dangers associated with heroin would diminish if the drug were legalized and people had the freedom to put what they want into their own bodies. In a legal market, this extract of the poppy plant – which has been used for thousands of years by people worldwide – would be produced in exact dosages known to the consumer, free from harmful synthetic chemicals like fentanyl.

As Dr. Carl Hart — the Ziff Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University and Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute — lays out in his recent book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups, we need to drastically revise our current view of illegal drugs.

Dr. Hart not only advocates for the end to the drug war but he admits to being a frequent heroin, cocaine, and MDMA user, and he does so with complete safety.

Think about it like this; if adults could go to the store and buy a bit of cocaine or heroin, as they can buy alcohol, we could expect the demand for fentanyl, meth, and other dangerous synthetics like Flakka to be reduced or non-existent.

Prohibition does nothing to curb the supply or the demand of these drugs, but it certainly enriches the corporatocracy and gives the State immense power over our personal freedom. It creates a void in the demands for drugs and those voids are filled with even more dangerous substances such as fentanyl.

We should have learned the lesson that prohibition only causes greater harm, during the miserable attempt at alcohol prohibition from 1920 to 1933. When the government attempted to ban alcohol, its production and distribution shifted to the black market, and people suffered and died.

But we did not.

Reports of blindness and death were common as people attempted to make their own alcohol but failed to realize the dangerous by-products that can be produced. Bootleg alcohol fueled violent criminal gangs exploiting prohibition for financial gain. We are seeing the exact same scenario play out today as cops are frequently caught participating in the criminal trade of fentanyl.

There will always be demand for psychoactive drugs, and there will always be supply to meet this demand. If government attempts to ban substances, making it a little harder for some people to get things like cocaine or heroin, they will synthesize some other, more dangerous substance and the overdose problem will only get worse. Until this drug war is brought to a screeching halt, all we can do is expect more of the same.

Drug Distributor And Former Execs Face First Criminal Charges In Opioid Crisis

Originally published @ NPR
by RICHARD GONZALES, April 23rd, 2019

A major pharmaceutical distribution company and two of its former executives are facing criminal charges for their roles in advancing the nation’s opioid crisis and profiting from it.

Rochester Drug Co-Operative, one of the nation’s 10 largest pharmaceutical distributors in the U.S., was charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled narcotics — oxycodone and fentanyl — for nonmedical reasons and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Former CEO Laurence Doud III and former chief of compliance William Pietruszewski also were charged.

RDC and Pietruszewski also were charged with willfully failing to file suspicious order reports to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Between May 2012 and November 2016, the company received and filled more than 1.5 million orders for controlled substances from its pharmacy customers. However, it reported only four suspicious orders to the DEA. According to the complaint, the company failed to report at least 2,000 suspicious orders.

“This prosecution is the first of its kind: executives of a pharmaceutical distributor and the distributor itself have been charged with drug trafficking, trafficking the same drugs that are fueling the opioid epidemic that is ravaging this country,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “Our Office will do everything in its power to combat this epidemic, from street-level dealers to the executives who illegally distribute drugs from their boardrooms.”

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Rochester Drug Co-Operative at a news conference.Mary Altaffer/AP

Pietruszewski, 53, pleaded guilty last week. Doud, 75, surrendered to authorities and pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday.

Both executives face maximum sentences of life in prison and a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years on the drug trafficking charges. They face a maximum five years in prison on the charge of defrauding the government.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is a middleman between drug manufacturers and local independent pharmacies. It supplied more than 1,300 pharmacies and earned $1 billion per year during the relevant time period.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s statement:

“From 2012 to 2016, RDC’s sales of oxycodone tablets grew from 4.7 million to 42.2 million — an increase of approximately 800 percent — and during the same period RDC’s fentanyl sales grew from approximately 63,000 dosages in 2012 to over 1.3 million in 2016 — an increase of approximately 2,000 percent. During that same time period, Doud’s compensation increased by over 125 percent, growing to over $1.5 million in 2016.”

The company has agreed to pay a $20 million fine and submitted to three years of independent compliance monitoring.

“Today’s charges should send shock waves throughout the pharmaceutical industry reminding them of their role as gatekeepers of prescription medication,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.

“We made mistakes,” company spokesman Jeff Eller said in a statement. “RDC understands that these mistakes, directed by former management, have serious consequences. We accept responsibility for those mistakes. We can do better, we are doing better, and we will do better.”