While Progressives Protest, ALEC Is Working To Stop The Deadliest Drug Crisis in History
The Left views The American Legislative Exchange Council as a pawn of corporate influence. There were some protests at the organizations annual meeting in Denver, Colorado in July. They were mild. No fires were started, and no vandalism occurred. They came, they chanted, and then they dispersed. That was it. While progressives chanted the usual liberal talking points outside of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver, a significant number of state legislators were figuring out a way to knock out what seems to be an unstoppable killer: opioids. Around 1,700 people attended the event held in July, where the topic has taken a rather disturbing trend. It’s now the deadliest drug crisis in American history. It’s killing close to 90 people a day. No racial or ethnic group is safe. According to The New York Times, the Midwest, Appalachia, and New England are the hardest hit regions. The introduction of fentanyl into this crisis, coupled with the over-prescription of opioids, has led to an astronomical increase in overdoses. Fentanyl is often mixed in with heroin to reduce the price, but offers a dose that’s 50 times more potent, leading to lethal results. Simply touching fentanyl has sent members of law enforcement to the hospital. In Ohio, one officer merely brushed off the substance off his uniform after answering a drug-related call in May. He overdosed an hour later; fentanyl can seep into the bloodstream through skin contact. In Florida, a ten-year-old boy was suspected of accidentally touching the substance at his community pool. He later overdosed and died. Authorities said contact could have come when he touched a towel.
Is it a problem with Big Pharma or is it an offshoot of the larger issue with heroin addiction? Some had different opinions about the source of the matter. Over-prescribing seem to be the area that the media focuses on, but other experts noted how prescriptions have gone down 15 percent over the past 15 years, and how the overwhelming majority of people who are given opioids by their doctor are not addicted. At the same time, we’re the nation that consumes the most opioids, and at the rate we’re going—650,000 people will be killed as a result of this epidemic. Reuters reported that in 2015, one third of all U.S. adults were prescribed opioids. Right now, the number of DUI deaths from opioids has increased seven-fold, the biggest spike since 1995, based on studies done by Columbia University. USA Today wrote recently, “In a paper published last month in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that the prevalence of drivers with prescription opioids detected in their systems at the time of death surged from 1.0% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015. The three most commonly detected opioids were oxycodone, morphine and codeine.”
We’ve seen bits and pieces of this story that often put on the backburner due to other news emanating from the Trump White House, like his former White House communications director going off on profanity-laced tirades against senior staff, health care, and special elections. In the meantime, state legislators have to fight a war using every available resource afforded to them in combating this epidemic. Townhall was given a pass into the various ALEC workshops at the conference to see how this crisis is impacting the states, and how they’re fighting back.