Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced the Summit to the problems in his state, which appears to be the epicenter of the drug crisis in the nation. While solutions lag behind, lives are lost nationally, while Kentucky is perhaps the most innovative state for solutions. “We had the highest rate for death from drug abuse in the nation,” he told the crowd. “Thirteen years ago we began making a dent in the problem, and when changes began so did attitudes. We’re still in the thick of the fight, but we must reach across state lines to show methods and solutions.” He was referring to influences on his state by others legalizing pot (referencing Michigan). “All we need is a little hope in an age when life expectancy is on the decline.” Rogers added, “We couldn’t solve the problem only by arresting pushers. We had to take a holistic approach and share information to change attitudes.”
Throughout the Summit, people in the “fight” from Kentucky spoke with authority to alert the rest of us on methods working and others not so successful.
A major dilemma for all states is drug sales and communication on the dark web. This issue was repeated in many conferences with no solutions offered. Not one attendee asked about the dark web knew how to access it, but it’s the drug culture’s secure “war room” and “market place” to increase sales and devastation on our nation.
The other drug-related problem is distribution through the U.S. Post Office. A top official with the Postal Service admitted they are being used, even by international dealers, to deliver death to buyers across state lines. “Five-hundred doses can be delivered in a one-ounce package,” he told one conference.
Other delivery methods are through international waters shipments. The Coast Guard and Border Patrol are on the front lines. The Commander of the Coast Guard told the audience they have intercepted 257- tons of illegal drugs in 2017 alone, along with over 700 people detained. Over 1,200 pounds of cocaine are captured daily.
The ingenuity and ruthlessness of drug cartels was disclosed, including violence, corruption and death, all to assault the minds of our citizens. “We go to where they are,” the Commander said. “We are working with the Mexican Navy because it takes networking with the 20 nations in the same fight. And even with our successes, we know we are stopping about 20-percent of the drugs getting into our nation.”
In the same presentation, we learned how the war on these illegal drugs have cost us more lives than the Vietnam Conflict, while deaths are increasing and will likely take more lives than any other cause in our history. All the while, this problem is now being called a “medical condition” that is ripping families and our nation apart. Still, so many families won’t talk about it.
“We don’t have enough people to educate the nation.” Dr. Eleanor McCance-Katz said. She repeated the death-toll numbers of 70,237 from opioid overdoses alone. Remember, the introductory drug for opioids, by over 97-percent, is marijuana.