The leading cause of death amongst Americans ages 18-45 is the deadly drug fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Because of the Biden administration’s backwards priorities, a large percentage of Americans have never even heard of the drug.
“We are in the worst overdose crisis we’ve ever been in in the United States,” said Lisa Raville, executive director of the Harm Reduction Action Center in Denver. “In a magical world there would be no drugs, but we live here.”
Arizona’s abc15 reports “In the year ending in April 2021, fentanyl claimed the lives of 40,010 Americans ages 18-45. That’s more than car accidents (22,442), suicide (21,678), COVID (21,335), and cancer (17,114).”
Awareness of fentanyl really only began roughly six years ago. It was developed in 1959 “primarily used as an anesthetic and pain reliever for medical purposes without the side effect of nausea. It is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin” reports abc15.
The synthetic drug became very popular and migrated its way onto the drug scene in 2015 for a few reasons. It is cheaper to produce than most illicit drugs such as heroin which requires cultivation, and because of its potency, only a small amount is necessary to get high.
As a result, fentanyl became a cheap “cut” that has been found in nearly every drug supply in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse announced that last year, 75% of cocaine overdose deaths were mixed-use with fentanyl as were 50% of methamphetamine overdose deaths.
Drugs cut with fentanyl has caused so many overdoses that Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse says people need to be educated on “how to use that drug in ways that is going to minimize the risk…And that includes, for example, never taking drugs alone. Why? Because if take these drugs alone and you overdose no one can give you the Naloxone.”
Both Raville and Dr. Volkow agree “solving the overdose issue is different from addressing the drug use issue. Both women agree improving things like education about contaminated drugs, addiction help, Naloxone access, and drug testing strip access are all vital.”
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Elizabeth Warren Acknowledges Unintended Consequences of Obamacare
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a longtime supporter of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is now acknowledging the unintended consequences of the healthcare legislation, particularly its impact on industry consolidation and rising healthcare prices.
Warren, who has been a vocal proponent of Obamacare, has recently had what the Wall Street Journal reported as an “epiphany” regarding the consequences of the healthcare law. In a letter addressed to the Health and Human Services Department inspector general, Warren, along with Senator Mike Braun of Indiana, expressed concerns about vertically-integrated healthcare companies potentially increasing prescription drug costs and evading federal regulations.
According to reports from Fox News, the bipartisan letter highlighted issues with the nation’s largest health insurers allegedly bypassing Obamacare’s medical loss ratio (MLR). According to Warren, these insurers, through vertical integration, have manipulated the system, leading to “sky-high prescription drug costs and excessive corporate profits.”
The senators detailed how conglomerates, like UnitedHealth Group, with ownership across various healthcare sectors, could inflate medical payments to pharmacies and, by realizing those payments on the pharmacy side, appear to comply with MLR requirements while retaining more profits.
Moreover, despite the Democrats’ argument that the MLR would benefit patients, it has incentivized insurers to merge with or acquire pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), retail and specialty pharmacies, and healthcare providers. This, in turn, has made healthcare spending less transparent, as insurers can allegedly shift profits to their affiliates by increasing reimbursements.
Warren, who has consistently voted against Obamacare repeal efforts, notably advocated for a “Medicare for All” proposal during her 2020 presidential campaign. Despite her prior support for the healthcare law, Warren’s recent concerns about its unintended consequences have raised questions about the long-term effects of Obamacare and its impact on the healthcare industry.
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