Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will be a top Democratic target in 2020 when he runs for reelection, won a big legislative victory when he succeeded in passing a bill that makes hemp a legal agricultural commodity, removing it from the federal list of controlled substances. He says hemp is distinct from marijuana, hemp’s “illicit cousin.”
The number of fatal overdoses involving meth more than tripled between 2011 and 2016, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of overdose deaths involving meth grew from less than 5 percent to nearly 11 percent. Fentanyl was involved in the highest percentage of fatal overdoses in 2016, followed by heroin and cocaine.
A California doctor now serving a 25-year term for operating a “pill mill” says pain management specialists like himself are scapegoats for the government’s failure to address the opioid epidemic. Many experts and pain advocates contacted by The Crime Report suggest he has raised a valid point.
Police departments and strangers with cameras have started posting raw, uncensored images of drug users passed out. The videos help some addicts get treatment faster, but experts say they are publicly shaming drug users.
The Justice Department threatened fines and prison time for city officials who open a site where people can use illegal drugs under supervision. A Denver official responded, “We’re moving forward, maybe even with more vigor.”
“We have a terrible problem. We have people committing suicide for no other reason than being forced to stop opioids, pain medication, for chronic pain,” said Thomas Kline, a North Carolina family doctor and former Harvard Medical School program administrator. “It’s mass hysteria, a witch hunt. It’s one of the worst health care crises in our history.”
Experts voiced approval of a new agreement between the U.S. and China that aims to control fentanyl smuggling into the U.S. black market, but they warned against expecting a quick impact on the drug’s death toll.