How fentanyl became Seattle’s most urgent public health crisis

What is described below is mass insanity.  How has America come to this?  I think the decline of religion is part of the answer.  From the  beginning with the Pilgrim fathers, religion has been a powerful influence in America and it has to a considerable extent held America together.  And Christianity has a large puritanical streak that for a long time protected Americans from the dangers of artificial sources of satisfaction.  "Prohibition" is an example of how strong that puritanical influence was.  You have to go to Muslim countries to find anything comparable elsewhere.  So many Americans have now lost their  moral anchors and have nothing to replace them

One interesting question is why there is nothing like the Seattle situation in Australia. Australia is even LESS religious than America.  There are any number of disused churches and regular church attenders are a small minority. 

One answer is that Australians of British stock DO have a strong moral code.  It is an informal one, not found in any holy book.  It is simply traditional, an informal code of mutual loyalty. I grew up with it. 

It evolved from the English working class values of yesteryear via our convict origins and was essentially a code of giving mutual assistance to the downtrodden. Australia's convict days are long past but the attitudes the convicts held have been passed down. My rough enumeration of that code is here. It includes a strong underlying value for quiet manliness and restraint. Men who cannot "hold their grog", for instance, are looked down on -- and drug dependence is similarly regarded. It is seen as "weak"

One place you can see in Australia  widespread deplorable drug and alcohol abuse reminiscent of that described below is among Australian Aborigines, who do not of course have British ancestry and the values that go with it

Illicit fentanyl kills at least two people every day in King County, and the powerful opioid was responsible for over 700 fatal overdoses last year, roughly triple the death toll of traffic crashes and gun violence combined.

How did the little blue pills — which were virtually nonexistent in the local drug supply just five years ago — become the most pressing public health crisis facing the greater Seattle area?

Today, The Seattle Times embarks on a collection of stories about the fast-moving fentanyl epidemic. We’ll explore how the dangerous drug has taken hold, why it’s so potent, and the ways it’s overwhelming emergency responders and the health care system. We’ll delve into how elected officials and social service providers are responding to the crisis. And we’ll explain how the opioid has disproportionately affected some of the region’s most vulnerable communities.

Fentanyl was first introduced in the 1960s to treat severe pain, particularly for patients recovering from surgery. Some pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl made it to the streets, but at $30 to $40 a pill, it was exorbitantly expensive compared with drugs like methamphetamine and black tar heroin.

Now, however, the Mexico-based Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels, which have long run street drugs up Interstate 5, are responsible for producing the vast majority of fentanyl smuggled into the U.S.

Making the drug with precursor chemicals from China, the cartels’ chemists aren’t concerned about quality control. So the concentration of fentanyl — cut with acetaminophen when pressed into pills, and with sugars like lactose and mannitol in its powder form — varies widely from pill to pill and batch to batch.

“It is the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced,” Anne Milgram, who heads the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, said earlier this year in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


1 comment:

  1. Drug dependence is indeed a weakness. It is an addiction that is chases feel good emotions. I watched a clip with a drug addict yesterday. She reported she just wanted to be happy. Well, I used to get high, but now I am pleased with being contented.


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