In 2017, 70,237 Americans died from drug overdoses. That puts the average daily death toll at about 192. The number of deaths has gone up every year since 1999, and is on track to keep growing. And growing by quite a bit, too—in 2016, the total number of overdose deaths was 63,600; in 2015, it was 52,404; in 2014, 47,055. Total number of overdose deaths in the last four years: 233,296. That’s the equivalent of killing the entire population of Springfield, Illinois, two times over. For a more thorough look at these numbers, see my essay, An Immodest Proposal For Ending The Opioid Crisis, originally published on Social Matter, March 20, 2018.
The overwhelming majority of these deaths are suffered by poor whites. But regardless of race, drugs are the number one cause of death for all Americans under the age of 50. The drugs racking up far-and-away the most deaths are heroin and its synthetic variants, such as and most especially, Fentanyl.
Where are these drugs coming from?
A cursory glance at the Drug Enforcement Agency’s recent activities tells us quite a bit.
one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and a quantity of cocaine (Count One), possessing with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and a quantity of cocaine (Count Two), and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count Three).
Who was this man? One Jesus Rivera. Of course, Señor Rivera should get life in prison, but a dozen years and some change is certainly better than nothing. Full press release here.
…more than 500 grams of heroin, more than 300 grams of fentanyl, more than one kilogram of cocaine, three firearms, over $90,000 in cash, vehicles, jewelry and precious metals.
His name: Samuel Cruz. Full press release here.
The four men: Moazu Kromah, Amara Cherif, Mansur Mohamed Surur, and Abdi Hussein Ahmed, and each is a citizen of one or another African country. None are American citizens. Full press release here.
Their names: Malbin Rubiera-Herrera, Juan Lantigua-Cid, Eduardo Ramos, Brian Abreu, William Claudio-Suarez, Pedro Orta-Rivas, Osvaldo Hodge, Steven Santos, Jose Angel Suarez, Mario Llanos-Ayala, Roberto Anthony Torres, Michael Miller, Takai Quntay Bellamy, and Christian Rivera-Torres. Full press release here.
His name: Joselito Colindres. Full press release here.
His name? Julio Pizzini. And the leader of this conspiracy was one Sergio Martinez. Like Señor Rivera, Señor Pizzini should get life, but again, about a decade and a half is at least a start. Full press release here.
Fentanyl is the deadliest threat facing communities nationwide. Through this investigation, we have saved lives; we intercepted 23 kilograms of fentanyl that had a lethal capacity to kill the population of New York City before it hit the streets.
22 individuals linked to the bust have been indicted, all of whom were working for the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican criminal organization. One of the 22 has had his/her name withheld from the public, but the other 21 are: Carlos Rodriguez Santana, Charlie Rodriguez, Robert Goldberg, Rafael Rodriguez, Jose Jaquez, Santiago Jose Martinez Sanchez, Silvia Vidal, Roberto Gonzalez Franco, Mario Alberto Urbina Garcia, Oscar Alessandro Garcia, Carlos Vazquez, Damaso Rodriguez, Felipe Marquez, Leonardo Villar-Cruz, Juan Serrano, John Torres, Jose Muniz, Eduard Ventura de Leon, Carlos Miguel de Leon, Victor Manuel Burgos Ramos, and Carmen Delia Burgos Ramos. Full press release here.
His name: Victor M. Diaz. Full press release here.
His name: Salvador Ramirez, better known as “Listo,” which is the rough Spanish equivalent to the nickname “Slick.” Señor Ramirez was working on behalf of Eduardo Bonilla, who apparently ran “an international drug ring from his Ohio state prison cell from 2015 until June 2018 while serving a life sentence for murder.” Full press release here.
Fundamentally, solving America’s current dystopian plague-like wave of overdose deaths requires a fully-secured border.
Simultaneously President Trump should consider redirecting our country’s drone strikes from the Middle East to northern Mexico’s poppy fields and ramshackle drug plants. [Mexican drug cartels, poppy farmers and the US fentanyl crisis, by John Holman, Al Jazeera, May 7, 2019]
After all, in 2001, the USA bombed and invaded Afghanistan for its role in the death of the just over 3,000 Americans killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That casualty count is just a pittance compared to what we are seeing today.