The Washington Post finally said something against the Obama administration – that Obama ignored the growing fentanyl crisis which has now killed over 70,000 Americans.
In 2016, a group of national health experts asked the Obama administration to declare a national public health emergency in response to spiking fentanyl deaths, but were ignored, the Washington Post reported.
The epidemic of deaths caused by fentanyl had been growing rapidly since 2013.
As of 2017, drug overdoses have reached their highest levels in over 20 years.
There are more drug deaths than any other cause of death, including murder, auto accidents, and suicide.
No one had really heard of fentanyl until it came over the U.S. border when the government began cracking down on the sale of OxyContin and other opioid painkillers.
OxyContin was developed in 1996 by Purdue Pharmaceuticals for people suffering from late term cancer pain.
At the time, evidence had suggested that it was not as addictive as other painkillers, and it began being prescribed for minor pains.
The result was a massive increase in sales.
Five years later, it became apparent that OxyContin drug was highly addictive.
Unfortunately by then, millions of Americans were already hooked on the drug and to opioids.
When the government started clamping down on sales of OxyContin in 2014, addicts started getting the street version of opioids – heroin.
There was not an immediate spike in heroin overdoses until dealers found they could increase their profits by switching from expensive heroin to low-cost fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.
Heroin comes from poppies which requires time and careful attention to grow.
This can be an expensive practice and is illegal in most countries.
Once produced, large quantities of fentanyl are easily smuggled over the southwestern border or simply shipped through the U.S. mail because it is difficult to detect.
As soon as it hits the U.S., fentanyl generates huge profits for the drug cartels.
One kilogram of fentanyl can turn a $1.6 million dollars in profit.
In China, where fentanyl is manufactured legally (only because drug traffickers keep changing the formulations to keep it technically legal), it is estimated that a kilogram of fentanyl costs $4,000.
By May of 2016, eleven public health experts penned a letter to six Obama administration officials—who included the heads of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Centers for Disease Control—begging that a public health emergency be declared in response to the surge of deaths from fentanyl overdoses.
But, in what the Post characterized as “one in a series of missed opportunities,” the Obama administration declined.
A few months later, the White House would declare a national health emergency requesting $1.9 billion to fight the Zika virus.
Two Americans would ultimately die from the Zika virus, while more than 19,000 would overdose on fentanyl the same year.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch mentioned the growing fentanyl crisis only once in a 2015 speech.
Tom Frieden, administrator of the CDC during the Obama administration, alerted several administration officials about the growing number of deaths due to fentanyl, but his warnings were ignored.
John Walters, the Bush administration head of the ONDCP, told the Post, “We saw more action by the White House over an outbreak of tainted food, giving out news releases telling people what to look for, telling people to protect their friends and family, than you did for fentanyl. It’s a little ridiculous that we don’t use the bully pulpit to at least provide a national warning.”
One has to wonder how the Obama administration was able to so grossly ignore such a deadly crisis.