Does a doctor ever commence a “comprehensive” treatment plan or do surgery without first diagnosing the nature and cause of the ailment? Worse, what if the doctor was involved in creating the problem and is now using random treatments – some good, some bad – to distract from that fact? Well, that is exactly what Congress is doing as it tackles 40 bills this week to address the misdiagnosed “opioid” crisis, which is a really an illicit drug crisis brought on by the DACA-driven surge in Central American teenagers and sanctuary cities beginning around 2013.
While some of the bills do address the illicit drugs, most of the legislative approach begins with the premise that this is fundamentally a health care and prescription crisis, when it is really exclusively a problem with illicit drugs – both opioids like heroin and non-opioids like cocaine and meth – brought in by open-border policies. The supply of drugs is meeting a deep-rooted problem in our society that stems from emotional and mental well-being and cultural problems, not from pain treatment.
This is why most victims are male, even though the majority of chronic pain patients are women. This is why most victims are younger, even though most chronic pain patients are older. This is why cocaine and meth are the fastest-growing drugs fueling the epidemic, even though they are not opioids. The supply is increasing from the border. This is why we’ve had drug problems for decades before Oxycontin was prescribed in the ’90s. According to the Congressional Research Service, drug cartels have been operating in this country since the ’40s. But now the cultural and emotional well-being of our population has deteriorated. Thus, commensurate with the supply of any drug and the decrease in price will be the increase in abuse. As we’ve chronicled in an exhaustive series on the truth about the opioid crisis, the epidemic came about suddenly and fatalities spiked precipitously right around the time of the Obama border surge.
Addiction specialist Sally Satel observes, “Contrary to common belief, prescription opioids do not pose a significant risk of addiction to the average person.” To the extent there is a subset at risk for addiction, they are “people with histories of addiction and those struggling with psychiatric conditions, and caution is particularly important with young adults.” A “Cochrane Review” study in 2010 showed that less than 0.5 percent of those properly prescribed pain patients developed an addiction within the first year of treatment.
In order to cover for the dual agenda of open borders and de-incarceration of drug traffickers, the government is now hurting pain patients who have never been prone to addiction. This is the true opioid crisis that deserves Congress’ attention. Opioids are already under strict control, hampering doctors and patients. Now is the time to focus more on the border and criminal alien distribution networks, not doctors and pain patients. Consider the following trends in the drug crisis:
The bottom line is that we could un-invent every single prescription painkiller and it would do nothing to address the core problem in our culture: illicit drugs.
Why won’t Congress hold a single hearing on what the drug crisis is and isn’t and better study the latest trends before legislating the issue to death? If legislators wanted to solve the problem, they’d recognize that the best “opioid legislation” is ending all incentives for cross-border migration and sanctuary cities. This would bankrupt the networks that are responsible for the overwhelming majority of drug fatalities in America. Yet the Republican party is hell-bent on the very amnesty that served as the impetus for the drug epidemic in the first place.
How can we solve a problem we fail to properly identify? How many more pain patients need to suffer so the politicians can cover for open borders, sanctuary cities, and drug traffickers?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.