From Viral To A Drug Epidemic. Chicken This. Well Said, Martin Sheen. Jerry, Kramer, George & Elaine.
- Have we gone from a viral pandemic to a drug epidemic? Fentanyl is now intertwined into the fabric of America, with news outlets writing stories about this narcotic to no end. Until I did a bit of research about fentanyl, I had no idea what it was, how it was used, and the deadly path the drug provides to thousands of people across the United States.
Let’s start with a basic definition of fentanyl, as outlined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA): Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid typically used to treat patients with chronic severe pain or severe pain following surgery. Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance that is similar to morphine but about 100 times more potent. Under the supervision of a licensed medical professional, fentanyl has a legitimate medical use. Patients prescribed fentanyl should be monitored for potential misuse or abuse. On the surface, this sounds like a controlled substance that has legitimate benefits for patients recovering from injury and surgery, until I dug into some facts and figures, that at a minimum, are disturbing:
- The illegal drug market has exploded in the United States with illicit fentanyl, manufactured in foreign (Mexico to name one) labs, and smuggled into the United States.
- Fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs to increase the potency of the drug, pressed into pills made to look like legitimate prescription opioids.
- Drugs intentionally contaminated with fentanyl, because of its low cost and extreme potency, include heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine.
- Two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage. DEA analysis has found counterfeit pills ranging from .02 to 5.1 milligrams (more than twice the lethal dose) of fentanyl per tablet.
- Drug trafficking organizations typically distribute fentanyl by the kilogram. One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people.
- Overdose deaths in the U.S., in the last two years, have risen by 38%.
Reality: unless a drug is prescribed by a licensed medical professional and dispensed by a legitimate pharmacy, there is no way to tell if it is fake, laced with fentanyl, or legitimate. Customs and Border Protection (ICE) seized 15,000 pounds of fentanyl during 2022, most of it at the southern border of the United States. What can be done to stem the flow of this dangerous and illegal synthetic opioid? One idea is for the U.S. to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs). This would make it easier for the U.S. government to prosecute cartels under a federal statute, even if their crimes are in Mexico. This action sounds severe, but does anyone else have an idea of how to deal with the drug cartels and the extremely dangerous fentanyl?
- A customer who ordered a meal at a national franchised restaurant did not feel like the food they ordered was described correctly on the menu. I will not bore you with the intimate chicken details, though I will express my disdain that this customer felt this situation warranted hiring a law firm and suing the restaurant chain. The extent of litigious behavior in the United States has gone off the deep end. Individuals and business entities have become prone to engaging in lawsuits, even if the suits are unnecessary, unfounded, or in many cases, retaliatory. I have had a personal experience with litigious behavior, and fortunately, after a lot of work by me, and my attorney’s follow through, a New York district court judge took a cursory look at the lawsuit and threw the case out of court. As well-known columnist Jack Anderson declared many years ago: “Across the country, people are suing one another with abandon; courts are clogged with litigation; lawyers are burdening the populace with legal bills. This massive, mushrooming litigation has caused horrendous ruptures and dislocations at a flabbergasting cost to the nation.” In 2022, the U.S. Justice Department reported false claims settlements and judgements exceeded $2 billion. Regarding the Buffalo Wild Wings lawsuit, which to me was certainly litigious behavior: A federal judge in Illinois has dismissed a Chicago man’s class-action lawsuit against Buffalo Wild Wings over the type of meat inside the so-called “boneless” chicken wings. Do we not have better and more positive things to focus on? Thanks for sending the info N.B.
- This diatribe was written many years ago for Martin Sheen, who starred in the political drama television series, “The West Wing”. Yes, this take involves both religion and politics, two subjects I really try to stay away from. What drew me to Sheen’s speech is the way he mocks this pundit, and attacks her views on homosexuality. Religion and politics aside, my takeaway from this speech is to keep away from your “ignorant, tight-ass club.” Again, I am not mocking anyone who is religious or political. I am pointing out that along with ‘President Bartlet’, people should just stay in their lane. Thank you to K.R. for reminding me of this video.
A Few Questions For Mid-March.
- What is the follow through by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with issuing an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin? The ICC would have a better chance of bringing Godzilla into custody.
- To China: what is a raccoon dog?
- Has collecting biometric data from customers in a grocery store gone too far? A New York City grocery chain, Fairway, has done just that.
- Does Poland and Slovakia providing fighter jets to Ukraine open the door for China to do the same with Russia? This smells really bad.
- Is Time Magazine’s naming of Tampa, Florida as one of the world’s greatest places off the mark? Maybe they went too far with designating Tampa with other great cities of the world, but the Tampa Bay/Clearwater/ St. Petersburg area is fantastic.
- Is it possible that only two days into the NCAA basketball tournament, none of 20 million brackets created through ESPN remain intact? Fairleigh Dickinson University’s win over Purdue sealed that deal.
- Are worldwide “hotspots” at an all-time high or just systemic and ongoing conflicts? I am thinking El Salvador, Ukraine, Taiwan, Israel, Libya and many more.
- Is the ongoing banking drama the only reason brent crude oil could fall to the $40 a barrel mark?
- Is it again time to gather our gold jewelry? Remember when all the ‘cash-for-gold’ stores populated our cities? Gold is once again hovering around $200 an ounce.
- Who is not watching the third season of Ted Lasso?
- It is nine minutes of your time, but these outtakes and bloopers from Seinfeld are priceless. I am not sure how they got through one take without cracking up.