A new bipartisan congressional report shows that the ongoing opioid epidemic is costing the country about $1 trillion every year, describing it as "a threat to our national security and global competitiveness."
The Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, the panel headed by Rep. David Trone, D-Md., and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., released its final report on the cost of the opioid crisis and the possible tactics that could be used to combat it.
The report states: "Synthetic opioids have been a driver of overdose deaths in the United States since 2014; in April 2021, the number of total drug overdose deaths surpassed 100,000 for the preceding 12-month period. Mitigating the threats that synthetic opioids pose is a challenge, in part, because the solutions lie at the intersection of numerous national interests: homeland security, law enforcement, intelligence, the legal system, and other areas related to public health and the demand for drugs."
It also notes that "Drug overdose deaths do more than cause tragic and unnecessary deaths. They also harm the national economy. In 2018, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the cost of overdose fatalities was $696 billion, despite being roughly two-thirds of annual overdose deaths today. It is therefore reasonable to estimate that drug overdoses are now costing the United States approximately $1 trillion annually."
"Since 1999, we've lost more than one million Americans to drug overdoses. That's one million moms, dads, sons, and daughters lost because our country's response to the opioid epidemic has failed," Trone said in a statement. "It's time to come together, from all levels of government and both sides of the aisle, to address this epidemic and put an end to it once and for all."
Cotton added, "274 Americans die every day from drug overdoses — that's one person every five minutes, and every day it gets worse. We must destroy the cartels and drug trafficking networks that flood our streets with these poisons to protect our communities. I'm proud to work with my colleagues to combat this epidemic at all levels of government."
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