I imagine that we all have heard about the opioid epidemic occurring throughout the country. Unfortunately, perhaps the devastation of this has affected someone in our lives. But it seems that is one of those issues that unless we are directly affected by it, then we are ignorant of it.

Some basic facts about this national problem are staggering and mind boggling. Last year there were more than 72,000 opioid-related lethal overdoses in America. That equates to approximately 197 deaths per day. Those 72,000 deaths in 2017 make the opioid epidemic two to three times greater than the total number of worldwide terrorism-related deaths in the same year. The attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 resulted in the deaths of 2,977 Americans and we, as a country, went to war. Yet, the deaths of 72,000 fellow Americans in 2017 has resulted in significantly less resources being applied to combat this epidemic.

But what are opioids? Opioids are an illegal class of drugs that includes heroin. Heroin is derived from the naturally growing poppy plant, a common plant grown in south central Asia to include Pakistan, Burma and Afghanistan.

Another even more deadly variation is fentanyl, a synthetic man-made opioid. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin and it is directly related to 49,000 of the 72,000 lethal overdoses in 2017 alone. Where does fentanyl come from? China produces 90 percent of the world’s supply of this heinous drug.

How does fentanyl and other deadly drugs enter the United States? Predominately, they are smuggled into the United States through our southern border via Mexico. However, due to technology, U.S. dealers and users can place an order of fentanyl and get it shipped to their doorstep.

Who combats this problem? Well, of course, law enforcement at every level from local authorities, state agencies and federal law enforcement. One might presume that the Drug and Alcohol Administration (DEA) is the only agency at the federal level involved in the interdiction of this and many other illegal drugs. However, you might be surprised to learn that DHS/ICE is heavily involved in the fight against this illegal drug. Yes, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  

One of the critical missions and priorities of ICE is the investigation, interdiction and enforcement of federal laws related to the smuggling of drugs. ICE is at the forefront of combating this scourge on our country and people.

However, ICE and other agencies are experiencing a lack of resources to effectively combat this problem, particularly in the area of intelligence operations. Intelligence, effectively gathered, assists ICE agents in interdicting fentanyl and other opioids before they actually enter the U.S.

During the Obama years, federal agencies involved in the interdiction of illegal drugs were gutted when the emphasis was placed on the treatment of drug users and the release of drug offenders from our prisons rather than overseas interdiction. Overseas interdiction programs were forfeited as politicians erroneously proclaimed that dealers and users can be treated and reintegrated into the community. Thankfully, President Trump has begun to attack the opioid epidemic by reinforcing and rebuilding the agencies and policies that can help save lives and stop this scourge. But he needs to do even more.

As the rule of law continues to be eroded in this country by politicians, individuals and groups who desire open borders and rampant criminality, they ignore the 72,000 deaths related to the opioid epidemic. These groups and individuals are the same people who are senselessly protesting for the dismantling of DHS/ICE over the erroneous ill treatment of illegal immigrants. These same people spit in the eye of the countless victims who are brutally murdered, raped and victimized by the lack of enforcement at our borders. They spit in the eye of the parents of Mollie Tibbetts, who was brutally murdered by an illegal immigrant. And they ignore the 72,000 Americans lives lost due to illegal drug overdose all because they want anyone to enter our country under any pretense and they seemingly do not care at what cost it is to our communities, our country and legal citizens.

Now is not the time to be dismantling any of our law enforcement agencies. Exactly the opposite needs to occur. We need to support DHS/ICE and other agencies and provide them with more resources, personnel and training to keep our people, communities and country safe.

Viper One Six – Out.

Contact Dave Shearman at www.viperonesix.com