“Border”ing on obscene
The President of the United States will be meeting with his counterpart in Mexico to discuss the current situation at the U.S. Southern border. While encounters at the border continue to see record numbers there are much bigger issues than just encounters that need to be addressed. This is one that we don't attribute as much to loss border security as we should....illegal drugs.
We continue to bemoan the drug addiction crisis as one that needs treatment, resources, facilities, empathy, and resolve. All of that is true, but we also need an attack plan to prevent the increases in overdose deaths plaguing our Nation and our Region.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, the Evergreen State has seen and increase of 66% in overdose deaths in 2021 from 2019 numbers with Fentanyl deaths increasing roughly ten times since 2016.
Oregon isn't faring much better. According to their Opioid Overdose Public Health Surveillance Update, numbers from January to October 2021 are up nearly 200 from all of 2020 and almost 400 from 2019. The 10 month sample from 2021 is roughly 100 less than the previous two combined from Opioid related overdoses alone. Those last two months worth of data could equal that number if not surpass.
We are spending billions of dollars a year on an issue that is getting worse because we are not addressing a root cause well within our control. People ask "How many children have to die of _______ before we do something"? Juvenile overdoses nearly doubled in 2020 from 2019 and were also on the incline in 2021 with fentanyl the chief culprit.
As of June 1st of this year the San Diego sector of CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) amassed over 560 pounds of fentanyl from border crossings including a two day stretch where roughly $1.5 million in fentanyl was seized. Securing the border isn't the only piece to solving the puzzle, but it is a huge piece that starts with the desire to do so.