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AOC Brilliantly Exposes Trump’s Inaction On Opioid ‘Emergency’

In another recent congressional hearing, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez laid out the fact that the U.S. has another national emergency on its hands aside from the one the President outright stated was unnecessary. Remember the opioid epidemic? That’s still happening. And yet, as Ocasio-Cortez pointed out at the hearing almost no money has been allocated to combat the real crisis, which is claiming tens of thousands of lives every year in this country alone.

In 2017, a record 72,000 people died from a drug overdose, with 47,000 of those involving opioids. The CDC is not yet done crunching the numbers for 2018, but if the trend from the last 20 years holds, those numbers will be even higher. In 1999, a little under 17,000 people died from a drug overdose, with about 8,000 involving opioids. Both 2016 and 2017 saw especially large spikes in fatalities, prompting national leaders at all levels to respond to what is now known as the opioid epidemic.

There are no hard numbers on how many people were killed by any type of migrant in any particular year, but considering the fact that migrants do not commit crimes at a rate higher than people born in the U.S. (and there’s a lot of data to support the idea that they actually commit fewer crimes), the folks over at Politifact estimate that number to be about 455.

So why, AOC asks, is there only $57,000 in the Public Health Emergency Fund while Trump takes billions out of the Department of Homeland Security, and, let’s see, oh, the Department of Defense’s drug interdiction program, which is designed to “reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the United States by encouraging reduction in foreign production, combating international traffickers, and reducing demand at home”?

Taking money out of a program to stop drug trafficking to build a wall that won’t stop drug trafficking because most of the drugs just go on in through the legal checkpoints. Now that’s good policy.

Ocasio-Cortez exposes this in her usual brilliant fashion by asking National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll exactly how much money has been transferred around to combat the opioid epidemic that Trump called a public health emergency in 2017? “Very little.”

“I think they were done with two different intents,” says Carroll in reference two the opioid emergency and the Southern border “emergency,” “When the opioid crisis was identified, it was to bring awareness … to make sure that people, parents, everyone understood the issue.”

When 47,000 people are dying in a single year because of one particular type of drug, we’re way past the point of “raising awareness,” don’t you think?

Or was that declaration of emergency simply an empty gesture because Trump doesn’t actually care about it?

Ocasio-Cortez then accepts responsibility for congress, even though she’s only been a part of it for a couple months, for the measly $57,000 in the Public Health Emergency Fund. That wouldn’t have been enough money to combat a national health emergency back when the U.S. consisted of 13 colonies plus Lewis and Clark out there somewhere, assuming they were even still alive.

She then points out how much the private sector has profited from the opioid epidemic and how much pharmaceutical companies have paid for congressional influence.

“Drugmakers have poured close to $2.5 billion into lobbying and funding members of Congress over the last decade,” she says. And she’s right.

The lack of proper attention paid to the opioid crisis has led to rushed guidelines and hospital policies that are now causing a second crisis. Chronic pain patients are being forced off of their legal, prescribed opioids that they’ve been taking for years without issue, leading some to warn that suicides will be soon to follow.

What do we think about all this, fellow humans?