Overdose Deaths Skyrocket in 2020
Besides the pandemic, the leading reason is fentanyl smuggled across the border.
93,331. That’s how many Americans died of drug overdoses in 2020, and it represents an increase of 30% from the previous year. What changed?
That question is rhetorical, of course. The coronavirus pandemic changed a lot of things in this country, most of them for the worse. When you isolate everyone as social policy, take away their jobs or at least personal contact with their coworkers, give them wads of government cash, and essentially tell them “we’re all gonna die,” it’s predictable that many folks would turn to drugs. The biggest period of increase in overdose deaths was from March to May 2020 — the period of COVID lockdowns.
Let’s offer a little perspective. According to the CDC, “In 2020, approximately 3,358,814 deaths occurred in the United States.” That’s 20% more than in 2019. Though a lot of folks would put a big asterisk next to this number, the CDC also says, “COVID-19 was listed as the underlying or contributing cause of 377,883 deaths.” It’s over 600,000 now.
Murder also increased drastically in 2020 — about 25%. Preliminary FBI data puts the number over 20,000 for the first time in 25 years. Blame for that primarily falls on Democrat-controlled urban centers that descended into murderous chaos following the death of George Floyd.
All in all, 2020 was a bad year. Obviously, COVID itself bears a lot of the blame. A deadly and highly contagious virus took a lot of lives. So did the response to it.
But to bring this back to the epidemic of drug overdoses, it’s a topic we’ve addressed several times in recent years because it’s not a new problem. Opioids have been killing Americans for years, but it’s shocking to realize that we were appalled by 59,000 overdose deaths in 2016. The 93,000 last year dwarf that number.
Much of the deadliness is caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is often unwittingly consumed by people who purchase fentanyl-laced heroin or other drugs. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. Where is the fentanyl coming from? The raw materials come from China and are shipped to the narco-terrorist nation of Mexico, where drug cartels manufacture it and traffic it across our southern border.
According to NBC News, reporting from El Paso (the opposite side of the border from Juarez), “Federal agents in this section of the southern border say they’ve seen a staggering 4,000 percent increase in fentanyl seizures over the last three years.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but policies that encourage employment, healthy social interaction (including healthy families), and a secure border would go a long way to save tens of thousands of American lives. Yet we have an administration and Congress pushing just the opposite.
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