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It’s no big news that opioids are taking their toll on the country, as well as across the world. Over 60,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, with 1/5 of those deaths caused by fentanyl. So what are we doing about it?
Across the country people are educating themselves about the epidemic and becoming more proactive. However, on the federal level, legislation has been introduced that would make it possible to import drugs not approved by the FDA into the US from questionable sources. While this could decrease the cost of some drugs, it would also provide opportunities for counterfeit prescription drugs and illegal opioids to flood the market. With the problems that America is already facing re opioids, why would now be a good time to relax regulations that make it harder to get opioids?
Fentanyl, a drug so deadly it can kill with a dose smaller than a grain of sand, is one of the main concerns for those opposed to the proposed legislation. Most of the illegal fentanyl that makes it into the country comes from China, and the strict laws currently in place make it difficult for drug dealers to get drugs from unknown sources (such as China) in without being caught. If these laws are relaxed, drugs such as fentanyl could easily flood the market, and make the drug crisis even worse. With the ability to order drugs from unknown pharmacies abroad, it would be nigh impossible to determine what is a real prescription vs. an illegal opioid.
Also an issue with the proposed legislation would be the ability for dealers to now route drugs through Canada before importation to the U.S. The Canadian government recently stated that they don’t have the ability to inspect packages that pass through Canada on their way to the U.S., making it even easier for dealers to get illicit drugs into the country if this legislation were passed. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh warned of this outcome were the legislation to pass, stating, that importing prescription drugs from countries such as Canada would “lead to an increased flow of counterfeit and other potentially dangerous products across U.S. borders, worsen the opioid crisis, and cause unnecessary strain on law enforcement and already-overburdened government regulators.”
In addition to the cons outlined above, the risk of seriously harm to American citizens would far outweigh any cost savings that could be had by importing prescription drugs. So, what would be the point of passing this law?
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