According to a new report from the National Center on Health Statistics, more than 63,600 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016, and over 42,200 (66 percent) were opioid-related. The number of people dying from opioid overdoses in this country is now higher than those who are losing the battle to breast cancer.
In January, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he was creating a new team designed to stem the flow of illegal online opioid sales.
How Online Opioid Sales Have Become an Issue
According to experts, much of the increase in the opioid overdose deaths is attributed to the rise in synthetic opioid use, such as fentanyl. Unfortunately, many of such drugs are coming into the country illegally, and a good number of them are being sold online. According to a recent New York Times report, close to $800 million worth of fentanyl has been sold illegally online in the U.S. over the past two years by distributors in China. The revelation was the result of a Senate investigation which found that a majority of these drugs were being paid for in bitcoin and reaching Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania primarily.
In October, President Donald Trump declared the crisis a “public health emergency,” which did not allow for additional funding. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction delivered 50 recommendations to help solve the issue, including the expansion of medication-assisted treatment and the coordination of medical health records. It appears that this latest move by the Attorney General’s office is one more way that the administration is trying to address the crisis from the supply side.
Attorney General Announces Program to Fight Online Opioid Trafficking
On Jan. 28, Attorney General Sessions announced the formation of a team designed to disrupt illegal online opioid sales. Called the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team, this new resource is run by the FBI and the Department of Justice. J-CODE promises to more than double the FBI’s prior investment in combating online opioid sales, and the agency has just assigned dozens more agents to focus on the ongoing issue of trafficking on the darknet.
In July 2017, Attorney General Sessions announced that the agency had shut down a darknet marketplace called AlphaBay, which was a site that listed more than 200,000 drugs and was responsible for many synthetic opioid overdose deaths. In August 2017, a program called the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit was created to investigate health care fraud related to opioids.
Get Addiction Treatment Help for an Opioid Use Disorder
While these efforts are aimed at addressing the problem from the supply side, what about help for those who are already enslaved to addiction?
There are few things more difficult or discouraging than being completely dependent on a substance with no idea how to break free. If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with opioid addiction, there is a way out. The Recovery Village offers a holistic addiction treatment program that is tailored your particular needs. You will have access to medication-assisted treatment as well as various forms of therapy, family care, and aftercare services.