More than 3,500 states and the District of Columbia are scrambling to combat the opioid epidemic, and a new report released Tuesday by the Center for Responsive Politics shows how the government has been slow to respond to the crisis.
The report, titled The Rise and Fall of Drug Enforcement and the Rise of Drug Trafficking, lays out the state of drug enforcement in the United States in 2017, highlighting how the number of opioid overdose deaths dropped significantly in some states, while those in other states saw the rate of overdose deaths increase.
The numbers in the report were obtained by The Hill from the Center on the Americas, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that provides information to policymakers on the drug war.
The report comes as the Trump administration has been under fire for its response to the opioid crisis, particularly the administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for some 800,000 undocumented immigrants.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other agencies have also taken some steps to address the crisis, but they have not been sufficient, according to the report.
“States have struggled to implement policies and procedures that could address the growing epidemic, particularly as states grapple with a heroin and opioid epidemic that has been on the rise for decades,” said Josh Blackman, president and CEO of the Center.
“This report lays out how state governments are grappling with the opioid overdose crisis, and how the Trump Administration’s administration has failed to address those needs.
States have grappled with opioid overdose and other public health issues for decades.
They have also struggled to contain the heroin and fentanyl addiction crisis, which has claimed over 500,000 lives in the U.S. in 2017.
But despite their efforts, the opioid and fentanyl epidemic has persisted.
The rise in the number and size of overdose-related deaths in 2017 underscores that, despite all the efforts, there is still much work to be done,” Blackman said.