Originally published in the Daily Caller, this article features Ariel Benjamin Mannes discussing the escalation of the opioid epidemic into a full-fledged public safety emergency. 

“In October 2017, President Trump declared a “national health emergency” in response to an Opioid Epidemic which caused up to 72,300 American deaths from overdoses that year.

That shocking death toll, more than the yearly death toll from HIV, automobile accidents or gun deaths combined; should have warranted a national emergency. But the national outrage for this public health emergency has not nearly reached the heights seen in the AIDS and crack cocaine epidemics of the 1980s.

Sadly, thanks to the smuggling of synthetic Fentanyl, the opioid epidemic is getting dangerously worse.

In recent years, opioid epidemic causation has been attributed to the over-prescription of painkillers by negligent or corrupt healthcare professionals. A sharp uptick in deaths from the abuse of illicitly smuggled heroin and fentanyl, however, has been cited by Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently published data for a 520-percent increase in opioid deaths in just three years.

Meanwhile, the availability of controlled prescription drugs and overdose deaths from legally prescribed opioids have declined significantly in response to increased DEA enforcement initiatives on health care providers, federal and state policy interventions and collective lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies by state attorneys general.”

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