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February 8, 2022 | Welcome To The Third World, Part 32: A Trillion Dollars Of Drug Overdoses

John Rubino is a former Wall Street financial analyst and author or co-author of five books, including The Money Bubble: What to Do Before It Pops and Clean Money: Picking Winners in the Green-Tech Boom. He founded the popular financial website in 2004, sold it in 2022, and now publishes John Rubino’s Substack newsletter.

Excerpted from CNBC:

Drug overdoses are costing the U.S. economy $1 trillion a year, government report estimates

Fatal opioid overdoses are thought to be costing the U.S. economy $1 trillion each year, government officials have said.

In a report published Tuesday by the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, it was revealed that synthetic opioids — primarily fentanyl — were responsible for almost two in three reported drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in the year to June 2021.

More than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses during that period, an increase of 30% from a year earlier, it said. And overdoses have been responsible for more than 1 million deaths in the U.S. since 1999, according to the report — that’s more than double the number caused by firearms or car accidents.

The U.S. Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking includes representatives from several federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Four members were appointed from the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“In 2018, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the cost of overdose fatalities was $696 billion, despite being roughly two-thirds of annual overdose deaths today,” the commission said in its report.

“It is therefore reasonable to estimate that drug overdoses are now costing the United States approximately $1 trillion annually.”

According to the report, this “staggering amount” predominantly arose from the lost productivity caused by early deaths, as well as health care and criminal justice costs.

President Joe Biden declared the illicit drug trade a national emergency in a December Executive Order.

In 2017, former President Donald Trump declared America’s opioid epidemic a public health emergency, calling it a source of “national shame.”

The report said on Tuesday that the trafficking of synthetic drugs into the U.S. was not just a public health emergency, but “a national emergency that threatens both the national security and economic wellbeing of the country.”

“In terms of loss of life and damage to the economy, illicit synthetic opioids have the effect of a slow-motion weapon of mass destruction in pill form,” the report’s authors said.

Pandemic surge
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, rising rates of fatal opioid overdoses were responsible for reducing life expectancies in the United States. Life expectancies for Americans declined again in 2020, which was largely attributed to the pandemic, but opioid-related deaths also played a part.

“Shockingly, the number of overdose deaths in the United States has risen exponentially since 1979 and does not appear to be dropping any time soon,” it said.

“Since 1999, we’ve lost more than one million Americans to drug overdoses. That’s one million moms, dads, sons, and daughters lost because our country’s response to the opioid epidemic has failed,” said Rep. David Trone, co-chair of the Commission, in a press release on Tuesday.

Co-chair Sen. Tom Cotton added that 274 Americans die every day from drug overdoses — that’s one person every five minutes, “and every day it gets worse.”

For the other posts in the Welcome To The Third World series, click here.

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February 8th, 2022

Posted In: John Rubino Substack

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