The federal government and their allies have long been promoting the myth that the “Opioid Epidemic” was due to lazy, money-hungry physicians over-prescribing pain medication. This, they claimed, resulted in Americans becoming addicted and overdosing at a record pace.
The narrative was false.
An April, 2021 report by the USDA titled “Fentanyl and other illicit opioids replaced prescription drugs as drivers of the opioid epidemic in 2011” reveals what was obvious those paying attention to this issue. The driver of the Opioid Epidemic was not doctors over-prescribing pain medication, but was a direct result of people taking illicit fentanyl and heroin smuggled over the porous border.
“Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis“
A “memorial” to those who were supposedly murdered by doctors called “Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis” took a tour around the country in 2017/2018. The memorial was created by the National Safety Council, (described as “America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate”) who claims that “22,000 Americans die from a prescription opioid overdose every year.”
From the name of the memorial to the faces carved in pills, the theater ignored the real issue of illicit fentanyl and heroin while explicitly blaming doctors. The faces on the pills represented the 22,000 people who supposedly overdosed on prescribed pain medication every year.
Doctors, it appears, were to be the victim of a smear campaign and some were even arrested for prescribing pain medication. Patients who were legitimately suffering had to deal with the pain as physicians became very hesitant to prescribe the medication they needed.
The statistic is still on their memorial website as of today:
It is unclear where this statistic came from, and two separate calls to the National Safety Council were not answered by the time of this writing.
Buried in their website as of today, the National Safety Council explains that “opioid” refers to physician-prescribed pain medication in addition to illegal drugs largely smuggled over the southern border:
“The term ‘opioid’ includes both prescription pain relievers (Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, etc.) and illicit drugs (heroin, illicitly manufactured fentanyl, etc.).”
The opioid epidemic was vastly a result of people taking illicit fentanyl and heroin that was smuggled often from China over America’s porous southern border. But in 2018 it was very difficult to get anyone to admit it. Journalist and talk show host Daniel Horowitz tried to get an answer from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about “prescription” versus “illicit” opioid overdoses and was met with a bizarre response:
I asked CDC the 800-pound gorilla question on their latest overdose report – how much was illicit and how much prescription. They said ” We cannot separate out prescription opioids from heroin in this current analysis because we sought to include all opioids regardless of type”— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) March 14, 2018
But why would the government want to conceal the truth?
“The reason why they don’t want to discuss the real culprits is obvious,” Daniel Horowitz explained an article published in In March, 2018. “They are open borders and Medicaid, two favored policies of both parties,” he continued.
Aggressively sealing the border would have stopped the inflow of illicit drugs. Further, leftists were salivating over more federal funding in part for “increasing Medicaid spending as the solution”.
As this author observed in 2018:
Politico reported in November 2017 that a group calling itself the ‘Opioid Network, spearheaded by the Center for Popular Democracy,’ whose board happens to be full of flaming radical Marxists (like Francis Fox Piven and Brian Kettenring) was demanding $45 billion for the ‘opioid epidemic.'”
Just yesterday, the aforementioned National Safety Council (NSC) excitedly reported on funding for the Opioid Epidemic (which would end quickly if the government finally did their job and sealed the southern border).
The historic $10.7 billion investment to help end the opioid epidemic would facilitate many of the priorities laid out in the comprehensive National Plan to Address Opioid Misuse, authored and released by NSC and more than 60 other organizations and companies”
Their “national plan” continues to be hyper-focused on prescriptions and a disproportionate focus on “stigma,” a common leftist canard used to justify bad behavior. The truth is that a bit of “stigma” is a good thing. Stigma surely makes people think twice about doing stupid things like taking drugs.
Why is the Government Now Admitting that Opioid Overdoses are from Illicit Use?
The answer may lie in the fact that they just cannot keep the truth suppressed. An article by Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute Jeffrey A. Singer, who has been on top of the opioid deception, details the findings of several university researchers, who found that “there is no correlation between the opioid prescription rate and injury‐induced mortality, including suicide, homicide, and subgroups of unintentional deaths.”
Those lying about the nature of opioid use have an agenda. They want tax-payer-funded government grants, and they want to maintain their sense of superiority and moral high ground when preaching to others about things like “stigma”. Those who lie about the root cause of opioid overdoses (i.e. illicit use) do not want the opioid problem resolved. They are willing to vilify physicians and they are willing to allow people who genuinely need pain medication to suffer.
The single most effective measure to stop opioid overdoses would be to close the border.