The latest tally of fatal drug overdoses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows nearly 108,000 fatalities in 2021. This is far more than in 2017, when President Trump declared drug deaths a public-health emergency. Among blacks, the drug mortality rate has quadrupled in less than eight years.
The Trump administration acted aggressively and directed agencies to implement several recommendations from the Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. These included changes to prescribing patterns, treatment paradigms and law-enforcement procedures. The rate of deaths from drug overdoses slowed and then dipped. But then Covid hit, with all its mental-health consequences. The addiction and overdose crisis is now the most important public-health issue facing the country.
Coincident with policy changes advertised as civil-rights progress, the comparatively low drug-overdose rate for blacks began to accelerate. It reached the white rate by 2019 and then surged past it during the pandemic to reach 43 annually per 100,000 of the black population by last September.
Rather than gawking at an accelerating overdose crisis, policy makers could benefit people of all races by investigating new sources of demand and supply. Instead, in a world where a single backpack of fentanyl could kill a million people, Mr. Biden eliminates the controls on illegal immigration instituted by his predecessor.
Author(s): Joseph Grogan and Casey B. Mulligan
Publication Date: 18 May 2022
Publication Site: WSJ