I chose the article about the opioid crisis. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, 2019), “the opioid epidemic is devastating too many American communities.” DHS is working with the US Coast Guard (USCG), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to conduct investigations and produce intelligence to develop a “counter network approach to disrupt and dismantle the transnational criminal organizations responsible for smuggling illicit drugs across the border and distributing them to a vast US drug market that results in the poisoning and killing of Americans” (DHS, 2019). According to DHS, through the combined efforts of CBP, ICE, and DHS, they are “seizing more fentanyl than ever,” almost 5000 pounds of it in fiscal year (FY) 2018 (DHS, 2019).
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According to AddictionCenter (Smith, C., & Soletsz, T., 2019), over the last few years, death from opioid overdoses has increased to over 40,000 per year. What is also interesting to note is that in most cases, the addiction started when the person was prescribed an opioid for pain from their doctor. The highly addictive drug was sold as a non-addictive drug without repercussions, and thus heavily marketed toward doctors who would sign off on the prescriptions without hesitation. After the prescription ends, the patient either has to suffer through withdrawal or try to get more, often illegally due to how easy it is to obtain opioids on the street (Smith & Soletsz).
It is interesting to note that DHS does not mention the issues with prescriptions and “big pharma.” This is another discussion entirely but a little bit of background information about the issues with big pharma can be read about here: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-opioids/trump-says-he-is-holding-big-pharma-accountable-in-opioid-fight-idUSKCN1S016A
I just want to add- this is a very real issue that touches more people than you may think. I have lost family and friends to the opioid crisis. It is closer to home than most realize.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (April 25, 2019). Opioids. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/opioidsDHS. (2019). Confronting the opioid crisis. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/19_0424_s1_opioid-fact-sheet.pdf