Tuesday, May 23, 2017

On Watch: Episode 14 - Corruption and the Increasing Opioid Epidemic

Below, is the latest edition of Chris Farrell's On Watch.  

To watch this video cast (vodcast) program, click on the arrow below. We have also included a full transcript of the edition below.

Transcript: I’m Chris Farrell . . . and this is On Watch.

I’ve discussed how public corruption is fueled by the flow of Mexican drug cartel heroin across our southern border.  Be sure to go back and watch earlier episodes of On Watch, specifically, our premier show and episode 3 to get up to speed on those subjects.

Today, we’re going to talk about fentanyl.  Fentanyl is a narcotic.  A very powerful synthetic opioid that’s properly used as a pain medication.  It works quickly and has a relatively short duration of action in the body. Most often, it’s used to alleviate pain after surgery and with late-stage cancer patients. 

For the past few years, there has been increasing evidence of heroin being cut with fentanyl.  Additional analogs or permutations of fentanyl – more powerful and deadly – have been appearing with increasing frequency and variety.  Perhaps most alarming, a lethal fentanyl dose is only about 2 milligrams—that’s a very small amount.

Outlaw laboratories in China have been creating new, unregulated variants of fentanyl, some of them even more potent than the original.  China’s chemical and pharmaceutical labs have few regulations and operate with the cooperation of corrupt government officials. The Chinese fentanyl variants make it easier for drug traffickers to elude law enforcement and create new challenges for both public health and law enforcement officials.

A few days ago, I met with a toxicologist who works in the Coroner’s Office for a major American city in the Mid-West.  The toxicologist told me that all of the heroin overdose deaths in that city involved heroin cut with fentanyl or one of its variants. 

Heroin is no longer just heroin.  That's the disturbing trend over the past few years. The toxicologist told me that a fentanyl analog called carfentanil – elephant tranquilizer – was in every overdose death the Coroner’s Office was currently investigating.

The magazine, Science, reports that Chinese internet sites advertising fentanyl, carfentanil, and other variants, are labeled as "research chemicals," and sold through the mail to the U.S. On one website, carfentanil sold for $361 for 50 grams: tens of thousands of lethal doses.

Mexican drug cartels continue to grow and harvest poppies, but now, like the Chinese, they can also get their hands on precursor chemicals and create fentanyl in their own labs.
The direct threat to American lives and communities could not be any graver.

According to the CDC, the U.S. consumes 85% of all the world's natural and synthetic opiates.  Opioid overdoses have quintupled since 1999.

Our decades-long “War on Drugs” has been a half-hearted cat-and-mouse game.  We’re losing.

Vigorous prosecution of a TRUE war on drugs and ALL of the related public corruption attached to it must begin now.  

I’m Chris Farrell . . . On Watch 

The official On Watch Twitter page can be found here.  
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