A couple of dudes who live in Northeast D.C. were arrested last week and indicted this week on felony charges of distribution of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine, and possession of fake OxyContin pills. They had tens of thousands of dollars in cash, as well. On Monday, they are expected to face a judge.
As coincidence would have it, news broke last Wednesday that more than 100,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. That reflects a nearly 29% increase over the same period in 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced. The vast majority of the deaths were due to opioids, particularly synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
“An American dying every five minutes — that’s game-changing,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said last week.
The opioid crisis is as real today as it was pre-pandemic, when knuckleheads were buying potpourri online and calling it synthetic weed. Recall the common outcomes? Their victims were overdosing and dying, too.
That localities and states have loosened up on “medical” marijuana, and recreational marijuana use has not decreased substance abuse. In fact, even as states and localities increase the availability of overdose antidotes like Naloxone and heroin substitutes such as methadone, narcotics abuse has worsened during the pandemic.
In the District, as a matter of fact, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine is leading a coalition of attorneys general from Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia who want the U.S. Supreme Court to grant states the authority to establish “safe houses” — places where drug abusers can freely use drugs.
Regulators and health care workers would be on hand, supporters claim.
At any rate, it seems that safe house or no, America’s families would still face a three-headed monster: drug dealers, drug addicts and a drug crisis.
• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.