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6 Days and Counting
Join us this Saturday at the Lost Lives of Fentanyl Rally in Washington D.C.
Six days and counting.
Add your voice.
Make a difference.
Please come join
If you are not familiar with the rally's creators, an impassioned group of parents who have lost sons and daughters to fentanyl poisoning, please check them on Facebook, Lost Voices of fentanyl. Founded by April Babcock, who lost her son Austen to fentanyl, it is an amazing group of many 'Warrior Mamas' who have turned their grief into action. I have watched them grow in the last few years to 30,00 strong. That is also, unfortunately, a sign of how many young people are becoming victims of fentanyl poisoning. More than 70,000 a year. It is the leading cause of death for people aged 18-45.
For those of you who have not been following fentanyl news, you might mistakenly think this is a drug that mostly affects habitual drug users. Some of those who die from fentanyl have been battling addiction for years. However, in many other instances, fentanyl is killing students who don't know that the Adderall or Xanax they ordered online is laced with fentanyl. Many victims of fentanyl poisoning did not even know they were using it.
Last year, the DEA seized enough fentanyl to kill every American. And that is only what was intercepted, what drug agents believe is a fraction of the amount of the poison flooding into America over a porous southern border and through our ports.
What is most infuriating is that on the subject of lethal fentanyl killing Americans at a record pace, there has been a bilateral failure of our political leaders to address the problem. Efforts to get Washington to list Mexico's criminal cartels - the distributors of about 90% of all the fentanyl that reaches the U.S. - as terrorist organizations, has been stonewalled at the capital. So has efforts to get fentanyl listed as a weapon of mass destruction, which would bring additional federal resources to battle the epidemic.
Congress cannot even agree on one of the most basic issues, permanently banning so-called fentanyl analogues, modifications to the drug's chemical structure, allowing for some far more potent variations.
What about the chemicals used by the cartels to make fentanyl? Almost all of it comes from China, which keeps telling the U.S that it is cracking down, but the corpses keep piling up in America. What about sanctions against China? There is no appetite for that in Washington.
And you wonder why I ask you to join us this coming Saturday? I don't know if it will make a difference, but Trisha and I can't sit back and not add our voice to support those parents who have suffered such a tremendous loss.
In my work on the opioid epidemic, the most heart rendering stories were invariably those of parents who had lost a child to the prescription painkiller crisis, kicked off by the Sacker/Purdue OxyContin. Ed Bisch, who lost his son Eddie Jr, has organized a "DOJ Do Your Job Rally" the night before the Lost Lives of Fentanyl event. It will try to put public pressure on the Justice Department to finally bring criminal charges against the Sacklers, who made billions off their deadly painkiller. Trisha and I won't get to D.C. in time for Ed's rally, but it is important to put the spotlight on the Justice Department. Otherwise, the Sacklers could get away with it. Check more at Relatives Against Purdue Pharma RAPP
At least with the prescription painkiller epidemic, thousands of lawsuits were filed against drug manufacturers and distributors, the national pharmacy chains, over-dispensing doctors and clinics, and individual medical opinion makes who helped fuel the lethal crisis. Purdue Pharma filed bankruptcy. It still seems far too little to parents who have lost children. Jail time is needed for the worst offenders.
However, when it comes to fentanyl and Lost Voices of fentanyl, the parents do not even have the satisfaction of using American courts to punish any of those responsible. The Chinese chemical suppliers and the Mexican drug lords seem far out of reach. And the distributors arrested in the U.S. are usually small fry dealers. They are deadly, no doubt, but they are not the people who have created empires from the deaths of so many Americans.
Trisha and I hope to see some of you there Saturday, especially our friends and colleagues who live in the Washington area. Let your voice be heard. Help make a difference. Let's wake up our elected leaders to take real action to stop the fentanyl epidemic.