In October 2017 President Trump’s administration declared the growing opioid crisis a national public emergency, bringing the growing crisis out from the shadows and into the forefront. Recently Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed the crisis at a convention in Cleveland. The Attorney General’s talking points were aimed at three concrete actions the administration is taking to address the drug that has taken children, fathers, and mothers. Sessions referred to the epidemic as a ‘grip of death and destruction’ over the United States.
“Today’s announcements are a warning to every trafficker, every crooked doctor or pharmacist and every drug company, every chairman and foreign national and company that puts greed before the lives and health of the American people,” said the Attorney General.
The steps already taken by Sessions and the current administration include filing a civil injunction against two doctors, indicting two Chinese nationals that are reportedly responsible for carting opioids around the world, and working to shut down dark corners of the internet where people can purchase illegal narcotics like opioids.
The first step was filing a civil injunction against doctors in northern Ohio. Ohio had the nation’s second-highest opioid overdose rate in 2016, only behind West Virginia – a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by the Cleveland crowd. Sessions reported the injunction was filed against one of the doctors after investigators found him advertising illegal opioid and steroid sales at local gyms. The doctor sold opioids to undercover agents during the investigation.
Another junction was filed against a second doctor who is accused of taking illegal kickbacks from fentanyl manufacturers. The doctor is estimated to have received $175,00 in kickbacks. The civil injunctions barring the doctors from prescribing opioids is the nation’s first that limit doctors in their ability to prescribe narcotics like opioids.
Secondly, Sessions and his team recently announced a whopping 43-count indictment against two Chinese nationals who are accused of directing a global opioid black market. The Shanghai residents, a 35-year-old man, and his 62-year old father have been accused of shipping more than 200 types of synthetic opioids across several countries including the United States.
Investigators were able to trace their operations to 25 countries and 37 different states and were even able to trace the two’s breadcrumbs of death and addiction directly to two recent overdose deaths in northern Ohio. The two have also been indicted on distributing phony or mislabeled medications. One of their products that was advertised as ‘cure for cancer’ was found to be the dangerous drug bath salts.
The last concrete action in the administration’s efforts concerns the ever-growing online black drug market. The online black drug market resides in the ‘dark web,’ or portions of the internet not directly visible to public users. These websites are only available through specific directions, passwords, and other forms of encryption. The dark web allows users to freely browse websites for opioids and opioid medication as they would on Amazon and has greatly increased the flow of illegal narcotics across the country.
Earlier in 2018, the Justice Department was able to undercover one of these dark web operations in San Antonio and quickly shut down the website and its distribution. Agents found heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids during their seizure. The administration hopes to find and shut down more of these online distributors.
What the Public Emergency Declaration Means
We’ve known for several years that opioids are a growing threat to the country and they’re currently killing an estimated 100 Americans every day, but what does the declaration of the crisis as a public health emergency mean? The formal declaration of the crisis as a public health emergency means certain funds and programs can now be unlocked.
“As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” President Trump said during the announcement of the declaration. “It is time to liberate our communities from the scourge of drug addiction. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”
The declaration allows some regulations to be waved regarding funding, expands the use of telemedicine treatment, and gives states more wiggle room in deciding how to use their federal funds towards combating opioids in their own backyards.
The declaration comes a step short of declaring the crisis a national state of emergency. A declaration of a national state of emergency would allow states to tap into the Federal Disaster Relief Fund to combat the crisis just as they would use the funds to rebuild a city after a devastating flood.
If You or a Loved One is Addicted to Opioids
If you or someone you care for has an opioid addiction, it’s best to act now before the worst happens. The opioid epidemic is being seen not as an epidemic because it only preys only the weak-willed, or a certain age group, or a certain ethnicity – opioid addition can affect anyone and it’s happening right now in tragic numbers.
Modern opioid treatment facilities and rehab centers have become the best tools for treating opioid addiction and can help the most chronic addicts to those who are just starting on their path to self-destruction. The addiction is addressed by experienced physicians and professionals in a controlled setting and makes the painful process of quitting opioids much easier with better chances at long-term recovery.
Don’t wait to become a talking point or another statistic in opioid’s destruction, contact our treatment center about steps you can take today. It may be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever had to do, but you can do your part for the opioid crisis by removing yourself from it.