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Rajan Menon: Addicts, Addicts, Everywhere...
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When terrorist attacks killed almost 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, this country promptly launched a Global War on Terror that has, by now, cost trillions of dollars and shows no signs of ending anytime soon. In those years, staggering sums were poured into the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state to deal with the crisis that the war on terror only seemed to spread and, in the process, thousands more Americans died (as, of course, did hundreds of thousands of non-Americans across the Greater Middle East).

In the meantime, year after year, another kind of terror struck in this country with tens of thousands of Americans dying annually from it. This particular reign of terror wasn’t launched by a tiny group of Islamist extremists but by a wing of corporate America, as TomDispatch regular Rajan Menon so vividly explains today. Its victims die of opioid addiction at a yearly level 20 times that of 9/11, a figure that should stun the imagination. In the process, we have become something like a nation of addicts. And of course, because such “attacks” last all year every year and because they have proved so devastating, this country has mobilized with a swiftness and sureness that’s put the war on terror to shame: a vast treatment structure has been created that now dwarfs the national security state, trillions of dollars have been spent on… whoops, wait a sec, none of that happened!

Since Donald Trump entered the Oval Office, however, a president has finally gotten “tough” on opioids. Unfortunately, it’s been in the same the fashion that he’s gotten “tough” on the border — and the effects have been similar. He’s declared a public health emergency (but not a “national emergency,” as he’s threatened to do for his border wall), given a major presidential speech on the opioid crisis, set up a commission, held a “summit,” and it’s all added up to more (or perhaps less) of the same, to what Trump opioid commission member and former Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy has called a “charade.” The funds that have been scheduled to go into the drive against opioid addiction — a promised $6 billion over two years (less annually, that is, than Trump is asking for as a down payment on his wall) — were modest at best, even as the president proposed slashing the budget of the Office of National Drug Policy, while leaving the Drug Enforcement Administration with only an acting head.

For all the talk, think of America’s opioid addicts as the Afghans or Iraqis of our domestic world. They can die and die and, as Menon shows, nothing much changes.

  • Walling in the Opioid Crisis?
    There Is a Real National Emergency in America, It’s Just Not the Wall
    Rajan Menon • January 31, 2019 • 3,100 Words
(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Addiction, Opioids 
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  1. Thomm says:

    When terrorist attacks killed almost 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, this country promptly launched a Global War on Terror that has, by now, cost trillions of dollars and shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

    False equivalency.

    If you consider that the towers took about an hour to fall most of the lower floors could get out, and that United 93 did not reach its target, it is evident that the terrorists’ goal was not to kill 3000, but more like 50,000.

    The same was true of the 1993 WTC attack, which killed just 6 but was intended to kill 50,000 (by having one tower fall on the other and toppling that too). Dismissing that as ‘only 6 died’ is what led to the complacency of the 2001 attacks.

    If they had a dirty bomb or biological agent, they would have used it.

    The Fentanyl situation is very serious, perhaps more so than the WoT in hindsight, but the ‘3000’ number is not the baseline to draw from.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  2. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Three questions:

    1. Who was President when the Sacklers were able to receive favorable government review of their product?

    2. What will that same fabulous government now do with the $6,000,000,000 of our money?

    3. What purpose is served by Mr. Engelhardt writing these TDeaSers for the linked articles of his vainly described “TomDispatch regulars”?

  3. @Thomm


    I have never done anything harder than pot and have not smoked a joint in years but I am familiar with crackheads because I was poor as a young man.

    What do you tell the 40 year old addict? Quit and your life will improve?

    Most likely it won’t. They will still have six felonies on their record and can never handle money or get any kind of decent job.

    Stop dealing drugs that will earn you $30,000 a year as a low-level dealer in order to make a teenager’s wage?

    Things were different in the nineties before Mexicans took every blue-collar job and outsourcing did not send the rest overseas. Ex-addicts could clean up and get a decent factory job. Not any longer.

    And family members often don’t forgive someone who stole their jewels for crack. Female addicts have to remember all the perverted things that men made them do for drugs.

    So you are homeless and sober. Kind of makes a person feel like doing drugs again.

    When a person is a white-collar cocaine addict, and I have known a few, things are different. But meth addicts and Opoid addicts are usually working class. They’ve been busted again and again.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  4. @Jeff Stryker

    Ex-addicts could clean up and get a decent factory job.

    I think your recollection is inaccurate. It has always been the case that ex-addicts faced massive hurdles – and those hurdles have fuck-all to do with of the dreaded Invasion of the Taco-Eaters, and everything to do with social and institutional brutality in the US directed at anyone who has a felony conviction (drug related or otherwise).

    Also: drug addiction has relatively little to do with the pharmacological properties of the drugs themselves; the most relevant determinant of drug addiction is whether or not your life is fucked.

    The best evidence for this is the post-conflict statistics for heroin users after Viet Nam: less than 1% remained long-term addicts, and those who did were almost exclusively men whose lives deteriorated on their return (often, but not always, due to PTSD).

    The cultural situation in the US actively .- and aggressively – undermines ex-convicts’ efforts to rehabilitate and improve their lives; as such it actively – and aggressively – contributes to drug-addiction relapses and a continuation of the addict’s downward spiral.

    Alienation, social isolation, poverty and malformed social relationships are the primary drivers: the quest to radically alter one’s brain chemistry is an attempt at self-medication. If it manifests as drinking 5 glasses of bourbon a night, nobody gives a shit if you do your job… but if it manifests as a joint you can get fired six weeks later after a workplace drug test

    That’s even true for opioid addiction: the fact that a lot of addicts start with a prescription for physical pain, doesn’t alter the fact that their first oxy experience is probably the first time in their lives that they experience a euphoric relief from their grinding lives… most opioid addicts are already part of an underclass.

    By contrast, and with the caveat that anecdotes are not statistical evidence… The Lovely was prescribed Endone – oxycodone – for post-surgery pain 3 years ago: she used 1 tablet (half one day, half the next), and we still have the other 11, My Dad had the same prescription after falling off a ladder and busting his shoulder: he still has 10 of his prescription (he’s twice as big as The Lovely).

    Both of them marvelled at how good it made them feel – but neither of them were remotely interested in recapturing the feeling ‘on the daily’ because their lives are already mostly-happy. (When I mentioned this to a mate of mine who is a former addict – and still regular drug user – his eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas: apparently they’re $40 a pill on the street).

    It’s not rocket surgery: this shit has been known for about half a century outside the US (the ‘Rat Park’ study in the 1970s/80s was actually performed in Canada).

    A big part of the problem is that Yanks have an ingrained holier-than-thou sanctimony – so much so that they’re comfortable with the idea that any non-trivial felony conviction can fuck up your life for a decade or more after you’re supposed to have ‘paid your debt’ to society: in some states, things like electoral voting rights are lost for life, as a result of any felony conviction.

    Guess what’s most likely to make people abandon support for that sort of stupid, sanctimonious shit? Seeing the aftermath when a family member gets a felony conviction. Then I people start to understand why people agitate for humane treatment – so instead of deriving from pretty basic humanity, their support derives from the zeal of the converted.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @M. Rogers
  5. ariadna says:

    “a tiny group of Islamist extremists” who carried out the 9/11 attack…..

    Still beating the dead and decomposing body of this horse???? Aren’t those who still do it beyond bored and closer to making themselves vomit?

  6. Renoman says:

    The only cure for opiate addiction is a bullet, the more bullets used the better the World will be.

  7. 78% of the opioid overdose victims were white in 2017. While this number is decreasing every year (blacks are catching up) – it was 84% a decade ago – it is still quite a large over-representation of whites, specifically poor and formerly working class ones. This means the national media will not care much about it, until the white share is below their actual proportion of the population.

    The question is – what to do about this?

    – Blue collar jobs likely aren’t coming back. Between offshoring, and low skill immigration, good luck finding a low level job to keep the addict busy, and with a purpose in life. Sure, even assume Trump did something about this, he will be gone in 2020 or 2024 and the globalists will resume this process.

    – Religion is gone. So are large families. Degenerate culture wafts into the formerly proud and socially conservative enclaves. Evangelicals should work to come into these areas. Perhaps instead of coming to Africa, they should look to the upper Midwest to save some souls. I do believe this could work, by re-instating traditional society.

    Ultimately, white people need a sense of purpose to survive. Work during the week, work for an (imaginary) piece of the promised land, work for your country. All that’s gone. So what do they have left? Nothing.

    If they cannot regain a self-sustaining community or religious community, then from a Darwinistic standpoint, they are useless and a genetic failure, and the faster their death the less painful it will be. However, correct me if I’m wrong, as I’m from affluent Franco and Anglo communities – it’s not a problem here.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  8. @UrbaneFrancoOntarian

    Newfoundland has some pockets of real poor white desperation.

    Canadian biker gangs are so ruthless and brutal that American biker criminals consider them bloodthirsty maniacs.

    Natives in Canada are not as organized or well-armed as blacks but they are a primitive white-hating bunch of brutes in Northern Ontario.

    As for drugs, Canadian addicts seem to like cocaine and crack.

  9. Anonymous [AKA "LaughsInFace"] says:

    “Also: drug addiction has relatively little to do with the pharmacological properties of the drugs themselves; the most relevant determinant of drug addiction is whether or not your life is fucked.”

    That’s idiotic on the face of it. So why aren’t they all addicted to Tylenol or aspirin if the “pharmacological properties” don’t matter?

  10. M. Rogers says:

    Also: drug addiction has relatively little to do with the pharmacological properties of the drugs themselves; the most relevant determinant of drug addiction is whether or not your life is fucked.

    I agree with you. I personally have taken various doctor-prescribed pain medications over the years — some before and after surgeries — and none of them ever made me think “Wow, I’ve gotta get more of this!”

    I’d add another determinant: common sense. Every medication “does something” to your body, and patients should understand that long-term use probably isn’t healthy. So don’t abuse ’em, folks.

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