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Is supply of fentanyl driving demand in Pennsylvania and U.S.?

Best-selling author Sam Quinones thinks so

  • Scott LaMar
fentanyl opiate in plastic bag in hand close-up

fentanyl opiate in plastic bag in hand close-up

Aired; February 6th, 2024.


Between daily news about former President Donald Trump, the 2024 presidential election, war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, war in Ukraine, and the flood of immigrants at the southwest border, we often don’t hear much about what was once an opioid crisis that now has turned into a synthetic opioid or fentanyl crisis.

One-hundred-twelve thousand people died of overdoses during a 12-month period that ended in August according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – a 3% increase over the same period the year before. Fentanyl was an ingredient in most of those deaths.

The prevailing opinion was that Americans’ thirst for drugs is what drove the crisis.

Appearing The Spark Tuesday, Sam Quinones, the best-selling author of four books, including The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth, says the supply of fentanyl is now driving demand,”Fentanyl is being provided and smuggled into the United States at just simply staggering supplies nationwide. It’s all across the country. Some people are getting addicted to something else,  using drugs… So. very quickly a little bit of supply creates, a long lasting, demand. The supply being so enormous and so relentless that people, once they are on it, develop very, very high tolerances. And so what that means is if they were to stop, they would go into very brutal kind of withdrawal effects. And so people are really, really reluctant to get off of fentanyl once they’re on it, even though they know that they very easily could die. It’s just the effect of the opioid on the brain is such that it just squelching that instinct for survival. And again, it’s simply the supply that is creating it. So if this were a few hundred kilos over an entire year, maybe that would be one thing. But this is the staggering amounts of fentanyl that we’re being inundated with.”

Quinones pointed out that most of the fentanyl coming into the U.S. is via vehicles into legal ports of entry.

Quinones said he thinks the U.S. and Mexico need to work together to stop of the import of fentanyl but he also believes law enforcement should be a big part of reducing the demand for fentanyl,”I believe we need to rethink jail. And I wrote about this in my book and a piece in The Atlantic as well. We need to think of jail as a place of recovery, places where we have recovery pods. And this is being done in certain counties around the country. What that does, though, is that it gives people after their arrest, and yes, you must arrest them, but it gives them a blessed place to get away from that, because too many people are refusing treatment even though they are at death’s door because of fentanyl. We need a place where they can, where they can go, be awake and develop that blessed respite from the dope and get off the streets. Because otherwise fentanyl is is going to kill them.”


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