• Recent preliminary data from the CDC shows that there more than 5,200 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania alone in 2020, 16% more than in 2019.
  • Nationally, the news is even grimmer: 93,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2020, a 29% more than 2019’s 72,000.

And the crisis is hitting schools so hard—collectively spending an underestimated $127 billion to help kids affected by opioid drug use.  The districts want some of it back and are being helped from Jim Humphreys, a former West Virginia senator who now represents those pursuing compensation from those companies.

Meanwhile, as of July 21, districts are eligible for at least $25.5 million funded entirely by opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma as part of its bankruptcy court settlement agreement. 59 districts, both large and small, joined that bankruptcy suit.

Meanwhile and nevertheless…

*** In February, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize drug possession. Accordingly, police can no longer make arrests for small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone, and the like.

A key selling point for voters: Decriminalization would ease racial disparities in drug arrests. n

Furthermore, Oregon’s addiction recovery centers are funded by the millions the state gains in tax revenues from its legalized marijuana industry. Those monies hit $133 million in 2020, a 30% increase over what it raked in during 2019, and a 545% increase over 2016.

*** Not to be outdone, Washington state’s new law makes drug possession of such controlled substances as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine now a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail. Such possession used to be considered a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines to $10,000.

Before signing the bill, Governor Jay Inslee said that “the measure will help reduce the disparate impact of the previous drug possession statute on people of color.”

*** In June, Washington state approved free marijuana joints as an incentive to get folks vaccinated.

*** As of this writing, California has moved closer to decriminalizing psychedelic drugs—magic mushrooms—for those 21 and older. However, psilocybin, the psychoactive metabolite in magic mushrooms remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

*** New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and the legislature have now “quashed the ability of police to arrest and detain youth for such violations as underage drinking and cannabis use.”

Moreover, if someone under 21 refuses to hand over the marijuana or alcohol, or won’t provide any identification, police cannot arrest them. Also, searches are now limited to only what is in plain sight, and police cannot warn the parents of kids under 18 years of age.

*** This summer, New York Democrat Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced a bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. It’s called The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.

Opportunity, indeed.

And tying it all up with a pretty bow comes the CDC with its “Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication.” So…

Instead of saying:

  • Drug-users/addicts/drug abusers
  • Alcoholics/abusers
  • Persons taking/prescribed Mediation Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  • Persons who relapsed
  • Smokers

The CDC says, try this:

  • Persons who use drugs/people who inject drugs
  • Persons with substance use disorder
  • Persons with alcohol use disorder
  • Persons in recovery from substance use or alcohol disorder
  • Persons taking prescribed Medicines for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)
  • Persons who return to smoking
  • People who smoke

I give up.

With thanks, Carol