President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to “stop drugs from pouring into your communities.” In 2016, he said:
We will not only stop the drugs from pouring in, but we will help all of those people so seriously addicted get the assistance they need to unchain themselves.
In 2018, drug overdose deaths in the U.S. did indeed fall, and for the first time in 28 years. While this is cheering news, there is no time for celebration. The year, after all, was scarred by the second most drug overdose deaths in U.S. history.
Rome was not built in a day, and Trump had the right to celebrate the fall in deaths in his State of the Union address. Still, this is a good time to look deeper at the trends underlying this phenomenon, to know how progress can be made and reversals avoided.
Progress has been achieved thanks to improvements in the release of prescription drugs. For too long, ignorance, carelessness and corruption has encouraged doctors to prescribe potentially dangerous medication inappropriately. While this problem still exists, it has become less grave, with naturally occurring opioids, like morphine, and semi-synthetic opioids, like oxycodone, taking fewer lives. German