So let's treat it like a disease then
A new report from Families Against Fentanyl, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the opioid, shows that children under 14 are dying of fentanyl poisoning at a faster rate than any other age group. The report on fentanyl deaths, which is based on an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that between 2019 and 2021, deaths caused by fentanyl poisonings among U.S. children under 14 years old increased faster than in any other age group.
If that doesn’t make you angry enough…
According to the report, infant deaths caused by fentanyl increased twice as fast between 2019 and 2021. The number of deaths among toddlers between the ages of 1 and 4 more than tripled, and deaths among children between the ages of 5 and 14 nearly quadrupled. Many of these deaths occurred as a result of the children ingesting the drug without their knowledge, as people are taking pills, such as at parties, without realizing that the pills are counterfeit and heavily laced with fentanyl.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas National Guard are continuing heroic and historic action under Operation Lone Star to secure the border and stop cartels from smuggling deadly drugs, weapons and people into the United States.
Since the launch of Operation Lone Star in 2021, the multi-agency effort has led to over 336,000 migrant apprehensions within which were over 23,000 criminal arrests with more than 20,000 felony charges. As a part of this fight (and make no mistake, this is indeed a battle), DPS has seized over 354 million doses of fentanyl during Operation Lone Star.
Despite this phenomenal work done by Texas law enforcement, researchers estimate that over 110,000 people died in a single 12-month period from fentanyl. Our present border crisis is out of control and despite recent efforts covered by the media, cannot be cleaned up overnight. As long as the border is a political issue and not a homeland security or defense issue, we will continue to see copious amounts of fentanyl reaching our streets in the hands of those who have been allowed access to those streets.
If you have read any of my previous blogs you know that I have no issues with true asylum seekers and I am presently heartbroken over those we have still left in Afghanistan fearing for their lives because we failed to keep a promise to them. I was on the playing field during the “evacuation” of Afghanistan and watched as we gathered up refugees and filled planes in late 2021 with people that deserved to be in a better place, but I also watched as we randomly selected many that were brought over while leaving loyal colleagues and partners behind because of media pressure and political agendas.
Any policy will be deemed unfair to some groups and there will always be those that believe they have the better idea, but the reality is that right now our country needs to perhaps shut off the water before attempting to fix the leak.
This is a war and needs to be treated as such. It is not a war against freedom seekers. It is not a war against those who have been gang raped or beaten. It is not a war against those that have suffered under tyranny. It is a war against elements that have taken advantage of the fact that we have so much in-fighting nobody is paying attention to the threat.
This is a war against cartels that already see this as a war and operate accordingly. This is an intelligence game where only the enemy is using intelligence the way one would in battle. This is a crisis that is annually wiping out the equivalent of the population of Gainesville, Florida, Cedar Rapids, Iowa or Evansville, Indiana!
Experts claim that 2022 was a turning point in this fentanyl-laced crisis as a series of major reforms began regarding the way drug addiction in the United States is treated.
These experts are saying that we will begin to see new treatment programs and other services that are desperately needed. Experts say that money, paid out over the next two decades, will fund treatment programs and other services that are desperately needed, especially in poor rural towns and urban neighborhoods.
The way I understand this, we are going to see a myriad of programs rising up across the valley to teach people how to dog-paddle or swim, some programs will hand out arm floaties and some will subsidize swimsuits but nobody has figured out we need to fix the damn dam?
Look. Street drugs in America got even more toxic in 2022 with the spread of more synthetic opioid fentanyl. Why more? The cartels were relying on Chinese exported chemicals to make their fentanyl until the COVID pandemic caused them to look inward and they began to figure out how to produce the base chemicals on their own. Now, with the ability to create every element of the drug, the cartels are increasing production like never before with a higher profit then they have ever experienced allowing them to finance more and more means to transport and distribute their product.
The Biden Administration recently (and proudly) announced new rules that will make it easier for many patients to access methadone and buprenorphine, medications proven to help patients avoid opioid relapses. Congress also eliminated a bureaucratic hurdle known as the "x-waiver" that prevented many physicians from prescribing buprenorphine.
But the same administration only had three hours to visit one point of entry to see where the crisis begins?
Lawmakers and federal officials have worked successfully to help at least one drug manufacturer prepare to sell the opioid-overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) over the counter in pharmacies, without the need for a prescription. If you do not think there is a problem in the United States, naloxone has become an over-the-counter remedy like aspirin!
While my stomach churns even stating that fact, others are quite proud of the situation like Dr. Rahul Gupta, head of the White House Office of National Drug Policy who recently stated that the solution begins when we “begin to normalize and understand addiction as a disease and we start to treat people suffering from addiction as human beings and then prescribe them treatments.”
I could argue whether or not drug addiction is a disease for a few hours and point out that I have been around drug addicts much of my life but never caught it from them, but I will adopt the mentality that it is a disease and ask this question: Why are we not treating it like a disease?
I am not going to confuse anyone with historical events or medical jargon, I will instead just point out some events in the COVID pandemic timeline that we all can remember and relate to:
January 1, 2020 - The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan is closed amid worries in China of a reprise of the 2002–2004 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus or SARS-CoV-1) outbreak.
January 2, 2020 - (THE NEXT DAY) WHO activates its Incident Management Support Team (IMST) across all three organizational levels: Country Office, Regional Office, and Headquarters.
January 7, 2020 - (ONE WEEK LATER) The CDC establishes an incident management structure to guide their response.
January 24, 2020 - CDC confirms a travel-related infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Illinois, bringing the total number of cases in the U.S. to two. ONLY TWO.
January 28, 2020 - The U.S. government relocates U.S. citizens from Wuhan, China back to the U.S.
February 25, 2020 – (TWO MONTHS INTO THE CRISIS) CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the incident manager for the COVID-19 response, holds a telebriefing and braces the nation to expect mitigation efforts to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the U.S. that may include school closings, workplace shutdowns, and the canceling of large gatherings and public events, stating that the “disruption to everyday life may be severe.”
March 13, 2020 – (LESS THAN 80 DAYS AFTER THE FIRST CASES) The Trump Administration declares a nationwide emergency and issues an additional travel BAN on non-U.S. citizens traveling from 26 European countries due to COVID-19.
According to BMJ Global Health, they identified 29 studies, of which 26 were modelled. Thirteen studies investigated international measures, while 17 investigated domestic measures (one investigated both). There was a high level of agreement that the adoption of travel measures led to important changes in the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic reducing the number of cases by an estimated 70%-80%.
Early implementation was identified as a determinant of effectiveness.
Mr. President and Dr. Gupta, THAT is how you treat a disease that is coming in from across your border.
I understand that there are stigmas about drug addiction and that there are perhaps millions struggling because of the poorly monitored way our American society literally has begged for painkillers and that Doctors without any hesitation prescribed opiates for years. I understand that drug addiction has been a problem for years in this country but the discussion today is a fentanyl pandemic in our country being called a disease but not being treated like one.
If the word “invasion” offends you, hear me. Treat this like a disease if that is what we are going to call it and close the border until we have an actual plan for dealing with those that are carrying the disease.
Authors Note: A million thanks to our Governor, DPS, CBP, HS, TSP, The Texas National Guard and all the others that are working tirelessly at our border. You are in our prayers.