Giving Compass’ Take:
· Writing for The RAND Corporation, Doug Irving takes a look at the history of fentanyl, the rise of its use, and how it became known as one of the most lethal and dangerous drugs in America.
· What can philanthropy do to help address the fentanyl problem in America? How can community help fight this problem?
Drug overdoses kill more Americans than car crashes, gunshots, or AIDS at its peak. But it’s no longer just a crisis of prescription pills or heroin. It’s a crisis of fentanyl. Deaths involving it and other synthetic opioids have surged from around 3,000 in 2013 to more than 30,000 in 2018.
Researchers at RAND recently published the most comprehensive study to date on what’s driving the crisis, how it could play out in the future, and what may be done to save more lives. Among their findings:
- Fentanyl is unlike any other drug problem in modern history. It’s more useful to think of it as a mass poisoning than as a traditional drug epidemic.
- The crisis is likely to get worse. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have swept through some parts of the country while leaving others almost untouched. There are signs that’s changing.
- Confronting the crisis is going to take more than disrupting the supply and getting people into treatment. Innovative, and controversial, responses—such as supervised drug-consumption sites and fentanyl test strips—must be part of the policy discussion.
“This is a new era,” said Bryce Pardo, the lead author of the new report and an associate policy researcher at RAND who specializes in drug policy. “We haven’t seen anything like this since heroin first hit the streets more than 100 years ago.”
Read the full article about fentanyl by Doug Irving at The RAND Corporation.
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