by Mike Pyatt
President Trump hasn’t relented on targeting China as a recalcitrant culprit unfairly flooding our markets with their products. However, one won’t find the familiar stamp “made in China” on the bottom of this imported plague. In fact this toxic substance most likely crossed our U.S. border courtesy of Mexican drug cartels. It was originally designed to sedate a 15,000 pound elephant. Who in their right mind would voluntarily inject this into their body? In some sections of our country 20 deaths a day occur due to consumption of this substance, according to the Milwaukee Journal. America’s insatiable appetite for drugs drive the demand for this “killing drug.” Some estimates report that the United States consumes nearly 90% of drugs worldwide.
Michael Jackson overdosed on the opioid fentanyl. He abused it to sleep. Carfentanyl is 1000 times more powerful than heroin or morphine. It’s a synthetic fentanyl used by veterinarians to sedate the worlds largest animals. According to the NIDA, the abuse of opioid pain medications opens the door for heroine abuse.Those addicted to prescriptions drugs are more likely to turn to heroin or fentanyl, which are available today on the street as low as $10 a hit. The falling price of heroin, the rising toxicity of the product, and the highly addictive nature of over prescribed opioids to a generation of Americans, has resulted in a public health crisis. A 10mg dose of carfentanyl can sedate or kill an elephant.
Fentanyl is a Schedule II synthetic opiate, similar to, but more powerful, than morphine. Like heroin or other opioids, it binds to receptors in the brain, producing a state of euphoria and relaxation. The form of fentanyl’s attributed to recent overdose deaths nationwide is being produced in clandestine labs, and mixed with heroin-known a “white heroin. According to the CDC, one gram of this fentanyl can equal as much as 7,000 street does of heroin. Carfentanyl is so potent, it poses a threat to law enforcement or others who come within contact with it. Drug sniffing canine would be subject to immediate death by smelling a package with its contents. The DEA reports it’s clandestinely produced fentanyl in Mexico labs, with analogues and precursors coming from China. In a drug sting in North Dakota, after an overdose death of a teen-ager, federal agents reported more than a million dollars worth was delivered from China via Fed Ex, in one month. Many addicts, buying from dealers think they are getting heroin, have no idea it has been laced with carfentanyl. What they don’t know will kill them.
First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” sounds hollow thirty-five years later. The War on Drugs has been an expensive, miserable failure.The step-child of “Just Say No,” the DARE program, according to a 2015, Scientific America study, the use of marijuana among adolescents is up 11% from 1980. Today’s marijuana isn’t grandpa’s weed. This heroine isn’t grandpa’s heroin. This carfentanyl isn’t the prescription fentanyl. It’s a100 times more powerful. According to a 2015, U.S. Global News report, one can go to a rogue online site, register and order this potent substance from a mail order site in China. Oregon Poison Center Director, Dr. Jane Horowitz, stated, “The first time you use this drug, is the last time you use it.” It’s odorless, impossible to detect, and the user thinks it’s fentanyl or heroin. A two-cocktail bag is sure death. In 2015, there were 228 overdose deaths from heroin or fentanyl in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.
Other than monetary gain, why would China flood the U.S. with this seductive, killing drug? As students many of us studied the Opium Wars of the 19th Century. In the 18th Century opium was heavily used as a recreational drug in China. By the end of that century it was estimated that nearly a third of the male Chinese population was addicted to opium. Early optimism about the habit forming properties was sadly underestimated. In 1874, the search began for a powerful non-active alternative to opium and morphine. In 1898, German pharmaceutical Bayer, launched the alternative-heroin. In 1905, U.S. Congress banned opium.
An anonymous, retired forty year DEA agent, who dismisses most conspiracy theories, submits that China’s interest eclipses the profit motive. He concludes, “What other way could communist China destabilize our country without firing a shot.” He added, “Given our nation’s insatiable demand for drugs-illicit or otherwise.” Is such a draconian strategy possible? There are large segments of our geography devastated by drug overdoses, and growing. We address the symptoms. What’s the source of this national vice? Is it vulnerable insouciant souls that are prime targets for this devil’s brew? Or reprobate minds? Have we the moral resolve to restrain this spiraling descent? We’ve eclipsed the1989, Latino, West Miami neighborhood that was labeled “Cocaine Alley.” This is “Fentanyl Freeway.” Many law enforcement departments must ignore cocaine enforcement in light of the fentanyl epidemic that’s overwhelmed their resources. Was Timothy Leary’s LSD 1960’s culture an adumbration of our addicted culture? China and Mexico feed the market we’ve demanded. We’re paying a steep price.
Concern over North Korea and Iran is warranted. However, our internal moral decay of rampant addiction may destroy us quicker. Treatment centers can’t be built fast enough to outpace the devastating outcomes. Khrushchev’s threat to bury us, was interpreted by many as political bluster. However, if China floods our nation with enough deadly product from their clandestine labs, they may bury us sans a shovel. Can this voracious appetite for these drugs be satiated? Few social observers were percipient regarding this baneful calamity. Evangelicals understand man’s fallen state, with a propensity to addictive, corruptive behavior, and the need for individual redemption. It would demand a renewal rivaling the proportions of Evangelist Jonathan Edwards 18th Century “Great Awakening” to tame this beast. Is it too late? What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org