The drivers behind U.S. overdose deaths have changed in the last ten years. Today's problem largely comes from illicitly manufactured synthetic opioid powders, particularly fentanyl, much of which comes from China. Congress and executive agencies will need to look beyond available drug policy tools when considering responses.
America's fentanyl problem is far deadlier than past crises with other illegal drugs. New ideas, be they public policies, technologies or law enforcement strategies, are desperately needed. Continuing to treat fentanyl just like previous drug epidemics will likely be insufficient and may condemn thousands more to early deaths.
The U.S. overdose crisis worsened dramatically with the arrival of synthetic opioids like fentanyl—now responsible for tens of thousands of deaths annually—and the problem requires innovative new strategies because the epidemic is unlike others that have struck the nation.
The rise of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids is unlike any drug crisis in U.S. history. Limiting policy responses to existing approaches will likely be insufficient and may condemn many people to early deaths.
Spending on cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine by Americans reached nearly $150 billion in 2016, with a large proportion of spending coming from the small share of people who use drugs on a daily or near-daily basis.
Americans spent about $150 billion on cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine in 2016—rivaling U.S. spending on alcohol. This number is driven in large part by the small share of people who use drugs on a daily or near-daily basis.
Document submitted on August 19, 2019, as an addendum to testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism and Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations on July 25, 2019.
In less than six years, the number of fatal overdoses in the United States that involve synthetic opioids has increased tenfold. Where are synthetic opioids concentrated? And to what extent is the problem spreading?
An overview of testimony by Bryce Pardo presented before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism and Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations, on July 25, 2019.
Young adults who live in neighborhoods with more medical marijuana dispensaries use marijuana more frequently than their peers and have more-positive views about the drug. The associations were strongest among young adults who lived near dispensaries that had storefront signs.
Given China's recent decision to ban the unauthorized manufacture of fentanyl, authorities there appear to recognize a growing problem. But China cannot solve the U.S. opioid problem. The United States could do more to reduce demand for opioids as well as drug users' exposure to these powerful drugs.
Strict policies traditionally embraced by Asian nations to discourage illicit drug use are beginning to change, with a few nations adopting alternative approaches while other nations are taking an even harder line against drugs.
An analysis of drug use, drug supply, and the burden of disease associated with illegal drugs in Asia can inform policies aiming to reduce substance use disorders and drug trafficking. Three case studies show how drug policy is shifting in the Philippines, Thailand, and China.
As the next round of states debate marijuana legalization, they would do well to contemplate allowing state governments to control the wholesale prices and linking the price of cannabis to its potency.
Illicitly sourced synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, are involved in most of today's overdose deaths. Though most of these substances appear to come from China, many dimensions of this problem are unclear. Understanding the shifting supply of opioids is critical to addressing the overdose crisis.
Abundant supply of opioids was one of the major causes of the opioid crisis. Broader supply-side policies that consider the full market, if coupled with effective treatment, are likely to be effective and resistant to substitution effects.