Drug-related deaths in the United States increased sharply by 28 percent in 2016. Compiling the most current data, experts predict that when all of the numbers come in for 2017, the latest trend line will be at least as steep as that of 2016, if not steeper.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who heads the U.S. presidential opioids commission, warned in November of 2017 that the current push for marijuana legalization could further fuel the opioid epidemic killing Americans.
According to CNN, the governor issued this warning in the commission’s final report.
“There is a lack of sophisticated outcome data on dose, potency, and abuse potential for marijuana. This mirrors the lack of data in the 1990s and early 2000s when opioid prescribing multiplied across health care settings and led to the current epidemic of abuse, misuse and addiction. The Commission urges that the same mistake is not made with the uninformed rush to put another drug legally on the market in the midst of an overdose epidemic.”
Ben Carson, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, presented a jolting fact during the final commission meeting.
“It frequently starts with something as seemingly innocent as marijuana.”
On December 20, 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Washington Post that American life expectancy at birth declined for the second consecutive year in 2016, fueled by a staggering 21 percent rise in the death rate from drug overdoses.
Bob Anderson, chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the CDC, revealed the following.
“I think we should take it very seriously. If you look at the other developed countries in the world, they’re not seeing this kind of thing. Life expectancy is going up.”
Meanwhile, the pushback against marijuana legalization is ongoing. A U.S. Senate committee has so far killed two bills to decriminalize the substance, and a House bill is in its death throes.
U.S. Senator Richard Black, R-Loudoun, remembers what he returned to after his service with the Marines in Vietnam in the 1960s. Fauquier Now quotes him as saying this.
“Pot was the biggest thing, and we had just simply had a collapse of good order and discipline. I know where we’re headed; I can see a slippery slope. I do not want to see this country go back where it was in the ’60s and the ’70s because, believe me, it was not pretty. It was the worst of all times I have lived through.”
On a similar note, Senator Black has recently criticized the efforts by outside entities to stymie Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. The senator voiced his concerns in the following interview.