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In One Year, Opiates Killed Ten Times as Many Americans as ALL Terror Attacks in Last 20 Years

Safety of the people and security of the nation should be priority number one for any leader who wishes to have a successful tenure in office, perhaps even multiple terms — and the President of the United States is no exception to this model.

So, why, then, has a killer of tens of thousands each year still on the loose inside those putatively impermeable borders? How could this executioner, unmasked and identified, roam main streets of small towns as comfortably as a seedy alley in some decrepit corner of an urban metroplex — unhindered by the threat of detention or arrest?

How could this nefarious reaper sever the lives of ninety-one Americans each and every day, yet — rather than earn a notorious status as Enemy of the Public Number One — this killer is encouraged to thrive, intentionally or not, by those supposedly the most trusted to guard us from bodily harm?

Since the attacks of 9/11, the United States has waged the pernicious War on Terror — combating a concept most of its citizenry will never encounter firsthand — nearly everywhere on the planet, even toppling ostensively brutal but sovereign regimes in its name.

Yet, Terror — its tactics used most often by disciples fighting in the name of religion — has not been as efficacious in destroying American lives as the opioid medications prescribed, without irony, to kill their pain.

Since 1995, terrorists of varied stripe have killed 3,181 people in the U.S. — nearly 3,000 of them in the September 11 attacks, which sparked the nation’s unending war, alone.

That’s a startling figure, indeed — particularly in a country known for Orwellian surveillance and tracking of visitors and citizens, alike — but terror’s death toll cannot be examined separately from known killers more easily stopped.

In 2014, the span of a single year, an astounding 29,467 Americans died by overdose of opioid-related drugs, including prescriptions — and the following year saw more than 15,000 lose their lives to overdose on opioid medications legally prescribed by medical personnel.

Related Reading: The Orchestrated Addiction Of The Masses: The Sweeping Epidemic Affecting You and Your Children

Unintentional drug overdose is now the primary cause of accidental death’ in the U.S. — and prescription opioid industry bears a significant bulk of culpability in the problem.

Many opiate addicts never sought the escape of a substance recreationally — but were given prescriptions for medications like Vicodin (hydrocodone) or even OxyContin (oxycodone) following surgery, a serious injury, or as treatment for the chronic pain of another illness.

What might seem innocuous when written by a physician can quickly turn malevolent — a single month of prescribed medication might not be sufficient to fight the pain of a complex fracture or chronic ailment. If the prescriber then refuses an extension of that opioid — all-too frequently, under the benign premise of preventing dependence — that patient might seek other means to procure the same relief.

Many turn to heroin — highly illegal, but readily available from the black market — and without the rigorous federal restrictions guarding its legal opioid brethren. In fact, a large percentage of heroin addicts began using after prescriptions for strong opioids like OxyContin ran their course, leaving the patients suffering without recourse.

Every day, around 1,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for misuse of prescription opioids — and in 2014, alone, roughly 2,000,000 abused or were dependent on those opioid medications. One-quarter, given such a prescription on a long but terminal basis, struggles with dependency.

Fifteen-thousand people perished by overdosing on prescription opioid painkillers in 2015 — and the figures compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grow exponentially by the year. Even as the War on Terror rages on around the globe.

Indeed, veteran American troops have stumbled on that war’s undiscussed elephant in the room while fighting the supposed terrorists we’re made to believe threaten our security, overseas in Afghanistan — the origin, by most reports, of the majority of the world’s opium supply.

Related Reading: Operation Enduring Freedom: The United States Heroin Trade

Standing guard over fields of opium poppies isn’t expressly stated in U.S. military recruitment brochures, yet troops returning stateside report that media images showing them doing so are entirely accurate.

Immediately prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan some sixteen years ago — in an irony of tragic shame to warhawk politicians and the pharmaceutical industry — the Taliban had all-but eradicated the opium poppy from the fertile lands under its control, evidenced by a record-smashing low, 185-ton, harvest.

Reversing that became paramount priority — even before dust kicked up by the boots of incoming soldiers had time to settle.

“Within six months of the U.S. invasion,” wrote Matthieu Aikins for the December 4, 2014, Rolling Stone“the warlords we backed were running the opium trade, and the spring of 2002 saw a bumper harvest of 3,400 tons.”

To call the revival a success would severely undercut the facts. Production of Afghani opium doubled by 2014, and Afghanistan’s potent poppies — rumored to be rivaled in quantity only by secreted fields of the North Korean government — soon dominated markets, comprising 90 percent of the entire planet’s supply.

Opiates fuel a crisis of dependence and addiction that — in tandem with a dearth of treatment programs attainable by those with low incomes or lacking insurance — has mushroomed into an epidemic, without indication of diminishing soon.

Correlation might not equal causation, but that span and gravity of that epidemic run in lockstep with the astronomical rise in production of Afghanistan’s opium — and both share a birthdate roughly coinciding with the U.S. invasion.

Opiates are profitable. Opioid prescription painkillers — doled out to Americans for temporary relief of pain, four times more often than in 1999 — are Big Pharma’s bread and butter. Even when the health of the millions stands in peril — an epidemic reaching across class, gender, race, and income lines to perfect a stranglehold — prescription opioids profit their manufacturers and distributors so many billions, ethics can’t take priority.

Sadly, and with tragic irony, the opioid crisis rekindled the flames of another highly ineffective war — the war on drugs. This most violent, futile, and rights-violating attack on Americans does nothing to stop the problem and only serves to bolster the bottom line of the prison industrial complex.

In fact, the war on drugs has served its purpose in creating the very crisis it ostensibly fights — a result known by all those who’ve ever taken the time to study the horrid effects of prohibition.

It must be understood, black-clad terrorists shouting, ‘Death to America!’ might offer a captivating tidbit for nightly national news. However, in actuality, these militants do not present so much as a distant threat to anyone living in the confines of the United States.

Rather, the unscrupulous players in the pharmaceutical industry, motivated by profit more than individuals’ long-term health — and their lackeys in government, specialists in lax legislation tough in language, only — whose decisions, given the chain of responsibility in crises, can ultimately destroy countless families.

Our government will wage this War on Terror, assumedly until the ‘threat’ of ‘terrorism’ decreases substantially. In the meantime, the opium overseas, guarded by U.S. troops and tended by local farmers both incentivized by and hawkishly watched by Taliban warlords, will be to blame for the epidemic killing scores the terrorists otherwise couldn’t.

Claire Bernish
Born in North Carolina on the first of March in a year not so long ago, Bernish currently resides in San Diego, California. Educated at University of Cincinnati and School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she finds interest in thwarting war propaganda through education, the refugee crisis & related issues, 1st Amendment concerns, ending police brutality, and general government & corporate accountability.

6 Replies to “In One Year, Opiates Killed Ten Times as Many Americans as ALL Terror Attacks in Last 20 Years

  1. While I find tons of useful information on this website, and news that I feel I can trust, it upsets me to see you jumping on the bandwagon with those demonizing opiates. First of all, they serve a purpose and for those of us who deal with chronic pain and debilitating limitations because of that pain can tell you that it is not the opiates that are killing people, it is the misuse of an otherwise lifesaving drug. Just as laws have put marijuana in the same category as heroin, and refuse to even research its potential to heal. I consider alcohol and nicotine far more harmful substances in terms of long term harm to the body and too often short term collateral damage to others. For centuries people have attempted to make choices for others when they have had no experience with the situation. For one thing, you cannot regulate people morals, and I assure you that the more you limit access to legal remedies to people with legitimate pain the more they will turn to other solutions. Prohibition has filled our jails with people who are not criminals because of the illegality of pot. The criminalization of issues that fall under the heading of health issues is not only foolish it is completely non-productive. Chronic pain robs people of any quality of life, so why exactly is it you feel that denying access to legal relief is the answer? All you will accomplish is a greater market for criminals who will supply whatever people want as long as there is a demand for it. Look to the data from other countries who have opted to decriminalize drugs to see solutions that have actually reduced the abuse of opiates and other substances. The falls under the heading of outlawing guns because of the reckless actions of a few, or making automobiles illegal because people drive irresponsibly. We have far too many laws already and maybe it’s time to look to some other more rational solutions.

    1. Well everyone is entitled to their opinion, and we always value yours Kathleen. First, I would hardly call it “jumping on the bandwagon” as I have personally written about this crisis for years, well before it was acknowledged by most, here is my most recent post on the matter: https://www.thelastamericanvagabond.com/health/orchestrated-addiction-masses-sweeping-epidemic-affecting-children/. Second, your misunderstanding is that anyone here is advocating for prohibition of anything. It is the government/institution’s bad intent, and intentional overuse for profit that is the issue, and their insistence that there is no other viable option. Anyone has the right to do whatever they want to their own body, yet when one is locked up for using a natural substance, all while a very dangerous and highly in-effective drug is pushed on children and adults alike, causing the world-wide addiction epidemic we are experiencing, and the subsequent billion dollar profits to both the legal pharmaceutical/big pharma operation, as well as the US government drug trade that it all stems from, there is clearly a problem. There is much more to this story, and if you are willing to open your mind to the many other very important topics we cover that the mainstream refuses to address, then I would imagine you would be open to entertaining this point of view. I always appreciate your open-mindedness, so take a look at my recent article, and I am eager to hear your thoughts.

  2. If you wish to go after a killer, you may want to review the hundreds of thousands of people killed every year by the United States under the guise of “fighting terrorism”. All the while they are the biggest terrorists.

    1. Why don’t you go after the biggest crime on the planet the murder of babies ! kills more than all your causes put together and its of innocents ,God’s reckoning is coming for that above all else “even so come quickly Lord Jesus “

  3. I hope I always keep an open mind, and agree with the notion that Big Pharma and the government have pushed an agenda upon many unsuspecting individuals leading to personal disasters. I suppose this is an issue that pushed a button because it effects me. I went through several decades in excruciating pain resulting from an automobile accident and several less catastrophic accidents. I took so many Advils that I nearly ruined my kidneys and a myriad of over the counter remedies which did nothing. In any case I just do not wish to see solutions that some people use responsibly go the way of marijuana, making criminals of those who rely on this relief to function and maintain some semblance of a normal life. I have great respect for you and always take the time to read the articles you present here, I am deeply grateful for the fact that you present highly relevant and important issues that are not often addressed in other “media”. I see your point, and the fact that there is another side to this discussion, I just hope you will consider my perspective.

  4. Just one more brief thought, opioids do not kill people, the abuse and over-use is what kills. As with so many other things responsible use for legitimate reasons does not kill people. I would also like to point out while we are on this topic that there are many other medications out there that are injuring many thousands of persons due to the FDA failing in their responsibility and Big Pharma pushing their use. I was so surprised when I saw pharmaceuticals advertising on TV and how inappropriate that was. These days it seems that on cable I see one commercial advertising some new wonder drug and a short time later an advertisement from a law firm taking cases for wrongful death and/or injury resulting from drugs that were dangerous and even deadly but were approved for use too soon. This problem is much larger than just the “opioid epidemic”. Chronic pain is an issue that effects many and opioids are not in-effective. They allow many people to return to living their lives as they deserve to.

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