According to the CDC, the amount of related deaths in the United States increased by 13% from 2016 to 2017. Every day, more than 140 people in the U.S. die from opioid overdoses alone. That number is only increasing as the days goes by in 2018. A lot of people have their comments, opinions, stances, or whatever else regarding the “drug epidemic” that is happening at our front doors in the United States every single day. This is a domestic war and people show up on the front lines to actually make a difference. Bottom line is unless you’re apart of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.
Politicians want to declare states of emergency and make it appear to the media that they’re actually doing something about the problem. That’s a joke. Six states have declared states emergency due to opioid abuse: Maryland in March 2017, Massachusetts in June 2014, Virginia in November 2016, Alaska in February 2017, Arizona in June 2017, and Florida in May 2017.
Maryland’s Governor Hogan declared a state of emergency in 2017, but only allocated $50 million over a 5 year span. Excuse me? That is really going to make a dent there sir (sarcasm in case you didn’t pick up on that). That funding isn’t specific to treatment services either! It also gets funneled to law enforcement and prevention as well. I appreciate the effort, but lets be honest, that isn’t going to make the impact that is desperately needed in Maryland. Maryland’s drug related deaths increased by 18.6% percent from 2016 to 2017. We are going to need more help than that because I am almost certain that percentage will only have increased by the end of 2018. In addition, DHMH makes it next to impossible to get the appropriate license to provide real inpatient medical detox so the government is really doing a solid job at making more resources available to my neighbors in Maryland. There is currently one private, inpatient medical detox in the ENTIRE state of Maryland.
Governor Rick Scott in Florida did a little better, but still not enough. He declared state of emergency in the Sunshine State back in 2017. Ultimately, freeing up an initial $54 million in federal dollars towards the epidemic over a 2 year span. In 2015, heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone were directly responsible for the deaths of 3,896 Floridians, according to the most recent Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics. That’s about 12 percent of all the 33,000 people nationwide who died that year of opioid overdoses. Again, I appreciate the effort, but it is not enough!
The President of the United States decided to declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency, essentially nothing significant has been accomplished since then. There’s like 7-8 bills going around congress, but nothing has been approved. He is aiming high to basically free up $4 billion a year to states and $2.7 billion to cities and counties in his main bill, which would be great. Is that actually going to happen? We can only hope it does. It is a waiting game and addicts are paying the ultimate price for these lackadaisical efforts.