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Home Column Drug Overdoses Kill More People In West Virginia Than COVID-19

Drug Overdoses Kill More People In West Virginia Than COVID-19

Trump talks about stopping our “endless wars”, but the Drug War has been going on longer than any of them, and the death rate is higher than all the rest combined.

Although no one will catch a “drug overdose” by sitting next to someone on a bus or at a bar, the widespread prevalence of drug abuse in a society does resemble an infectious disease epidemic in other ways. 

The origins of the opioid epidemic is more complex, but a difference in policies produces a difference in results. First and foremost, the problem can be prevented by good public health policies and can be made much worse by bad social policies. Take for example the Netherlands, where the COVID-19 case rate soared in March, but had declined sharply by the end of June

Meanwhile, in the United States, the COVID-19 infection rate continues to rise sharply

Similarly, U.S. drug policies are a major disaster.With a rate of 314.5 deaths per million and an estimated total of 67,367 drug-related deaths in 2018, the U.S. lost more lives to the use of drugs than the next 20 countries combined,according to Statista.

In West Virginia, “COVID-19 has claimed 93 lives… over the past three months,” according to The Guardian. “That is only a fraction of those killed by drug overdoses, which caused nearly 1,000 deaths in the state in 2018 alone, mostly from opioids but also methamphetamine (also known as meth).”

Continuing the comparison of West Virginia with the Netherlands, conveniently, the Dutch population is approximately 10 times that of the Mountain State, 17 million versus 1.7 million. The Dutch lost 262 people to drug overdoses, while WV lost almost 1,000. 

That is 40 times the Dutch per capita rate!

These differences in outcomes are so great that we the American people must demand that our so-called leaders explain why they are ignoring the Dutch experience. 

President Trump has cited the fact that the Dutch are sending their children back to school, but he has ignored the different outcomes in pandemic policies. As they support Trump on his “back to school” demands, Fox and the other pro-Trump media have ignored these major differences in COVID-19 policies and outcomes, but the so-called “Mainstream Media”, like Fox, have always ignored Dutch drugs policies, especially regarding marijuana.

On June 10, President Trump went to Florida to meet with the US Southern Command which has long been tasked with fighting the “Drug War” in the Eastern Pacific as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. 

According to WPTV, they bragged that “A joint operation between the U.S. military and multiple law enforcement agencies has led to more than 1,000 arrests and the seizure of around 264,000 pounds of illegal drugs worth billions of dollars across the Western Hemisphere since early April.”

He knows the numbers: “Last year, 70,000 precious American lives were taken because of the poison the cartels bring into our country,” Trump said. “We’ll work relentlessly to seize illegal drugs, arrest vile traffickers.”

Trump talks about stopping our “endless wars”, but the Drug War has been going on longer than any of them, and the death rate is higher than all the rest combined.

FDA Warns CBD Companies On Opioid Addiction Treatment Claims
Photo by Darwin Brandis/Getty Images

As an excellent editorial in the Orange County Register notes, “In the name of a quixotic war to eradicate drugs, millions of Americans have been criminalized and saddled with the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, drugs have become more dangerous, cartels and street gangs have been enriched and alternatives to the hammer of the justice system have been underfunded and underutilized…”

According to the Costs of War Project out of Brown University, “The War on Drugs has come at a cost of over $1 trillion over decades and helped spur a so-called opioid crisis.”

Meanwhile in Canada, there has been an amazing role reversal between the police and the so-called Liberal Party of Le Grande Poseur, Justin Trudeau, darling of the American Left.

The Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading national newspaper, reports:

“Canada’s police chiefs are calling on Ottawa to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs, which they argue is urgently needed to slow opioid deaths and help people addicted to illicit substances.

“The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police released a report Thursday underscoring how the criminal-justice system has been ineffective in dealing with people who are battling substance use and addiction issues.”

“We have less than two Canadians die per day of homicide and we have 11 Canadians a day dying of overdose,” said Adam Palmer, head of the CACP and a Vancouver police constable. “So it’s a significant public safety issue and a public health issue that we need to have a different approach with.

“Police are put out to deal with these things on the front lines and in many cases are not the best people to be dealing with them.” 

Appallingly, the Trudeau government says that it will not follow their advice, even though Canada ranks fourth in the world for overdose deaths, 179.8 per million.

Meanwhile, Portugal, which decriminalized possession of all drugs twenty years ago, is seeing a declining rate in overdose deaths. According to stats from the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction: “The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) was 4 deaths per million in 2017, which is lower than the most recent European average of 22 deaths per million.”

Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and current syndicated author. His work on CBD, hemp and marijuana can be found here: Marijuana Weekly News.

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