By Joe Tilton
Numbers of deaths in this nation were disclosed at the Rx Summit in Atlanta, which should have been titled, “Report on the Ruination of our Nation.” My reason for going was to discover what to report so other parents would not have to suffer the loss of a child and the pain that follows as I have. The numbers are disclosed throughout this series in this edition, and the numbers are horrendous. Although some of the information involves opioids, both natural and synthetic, the drug first used, by a 97+ percentage, is marijuana. And, pot users continue to use while adding other drugs. The most prolific “other drug” is cocaine by 80.7-percent nationally. Unemployment rates by these users tracks by the same rates.
If there is any good news about cocaine, it’s that seizures by law enforcement doubled in 2010 and efforts continue to get it off the streets.
Meth labs are flourishing in Mexico. They are being called “mega labs” since they are not opposed, and neither is meth being stopped from crossing our Southern Border. However, here in Michigan, the number of fully-operational meth labs increased from 438 to 524 in one year. Add the production from Mexico’s meth delivered into Ohio and Michigan, means, “Houston, we have a problem.” Death by meth is increasing, and the segment of our population being hit the hardest is males from 18 to 34. The highest overdose rates by meth are in males 35 to 54. This “equal opportunity” problem is also impacting the black and Hispanic communities in a vicious way. One California resident showed photos of commercial buildings where illegal drugs are sold, right outside his door. This black man asked why there are so many more places like this in his community than in the white population. Another very high risk area for overdoses is the gay community.
Okay, some numbers. In 2000, deaths from opioids numbered 16,500 while cocaine took 14,275 citizens from us. Are “they” combining these drugs? Yes, buy a high margin. Then, there’s the fentanyl issue. Fentanyl is designed to kill. (Reference the article on fentanyl) Some street dealers intentionally mix fentanyl with other drugs, including marijuana. You have no idea what you’re going to get when you buy a street drug. You might remember that the initiative petition allowing for “recreational” marijuana in Michigan does not address ingredient standards for marijuana. Dealers want to legally “spike” pot with what they want. When marijuana is laced with nicotine, you are guaranteed to keep using.
There is a concentrated effort to stop “pill mills” where doctors prescribe opioid-based products for money. As this effort increases, use of other stimulating drugs increase.
The western part of the U.S. has seen the highest death rates, and that is attributed to states such as Colorado and on west. Legalizing marijuana, the it-never-killed-anybody drug, is enticing beginners to try something stronger. When we heard from several Oregon researchers, a pattern emerged to show how the drug-culture process grows from legalization of “recreational” to higher death rates. The process is showing up, right on time, in California. This constitutes a serious warning for Michigan. This state has just started the process, but it’s definitely coming. As Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas have seen changes in their states from the Colorado influence, Ohio and Indiana are not at all happy about our “recreational” vote last November. They see what’s coming although they didn’t ask for it.
Everyone in the court systems, law enforcement and medical communities should attend next year’s Summit in Nashville. We can’t just talk about it any more. We must organize and battle this all-out attack on our nation.