America’s Drug Crisis Demands Ethical Protectors
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D. C. is hallowed ground dedicated to honoring Americans who gave the last measure of devotion to freedom in the Vietnam War.
According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall-USA website, there are 58,195 names engraved on the wall. The wall stands as a perpetual reminder honoring Americans who lost their lives in Vietnam from 1955-1975.
These sacrifices remind us of the price of freedom, and the courage, heroism, and character of America.
America’s Lives Lost: A New Crisis
As staggering as the loss of life from the Vietnam War is, America is now faced with a new crisis.
Last year alone, more Americans were likely killed by drug overdoses in one year than during the entire Vietnam War.
Data from a recent National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) study predicts an alarming escalation of drug deaths to an estimated 71,600 in 2017.
The report, memorialized through graphic charts on the NIH website crystalizes the horrific toll of the drug crisis. The report includes the following:
- Among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with over 20,000 overdose deaths.
- More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids—the death toll nearly doubling over the past decade.
Addressing America’s Drug Crisis
For the past 20 years the clarion call to eradicate America’s drug crisis has been addressed in my presentations and published works.
This dedication continued on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 with my presentation titled “America’s Drug Crisis: Issues and Response” in Champion, Pennsylvania.
The presentation was conducted for over 250 attendees as requested by the Professional Affordable Housing Management Association (PAHMA). This association is to be commended for their efforts to remedy this crisis. PAMHA is also to be complemented for their generous printing of my numerous Epoch Times articles on the opioid crisis for all attendees.
My presentation illuminated the inseparability of America’s drug crisis with our culture of violence, crisis of leadership, gang culture, and deterioration of families. It concluded, as all my presentations do, with a tribute to American military sacrifices and solutions to remedy the crisis.
Recent headlines from throughout the nation, highlighted in graphic slides, crystallized the enormity of the crisis and included the following:
- US heroin deaths jump 533% since 2002, report says
- Born Addicted: The Number of Opioid-Addicted Babies is Soaring
- America’s opioid crisis has cut into U.S. life expectancy
- Opioids create generation of American orphans
- Enough Fentanyl to Kill 32 Million People Seized During New York City Drug Busts, Police Say
- Drug Deaths in America Rising Faster Than Ever
- This is a nationwide problem: Drug investigation leads to 25 arrests in Harrisburg area
- Feds: Chicago gang members killed six in conspiracy to control drug trade
- Feds and NYC authorities arrest 49 members of cartel-linked Bronx based drug distribution network
- State of Addiction: How did Pennsylvania find itself so deep in the opioid epidemic
Inseparable Link: Gang Dealers and Deviant Executives
At one point during my presentation, there was a rousing spontaneous applause. This was sparked by my passionate remarks on Purdue Pharma corporate executives. I stated that these individuals were inseparably linked to street-level drug dealers and they were pivotal to America’s drug crisis.
According to a May 10, 2007 news release on the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Virginia website, top executives from Purdue Pharma plead guilty. This was based on their misbranding OxyContin and involved their agreement to pay over $600 million in damages.
This guilty plea came just a few days after the pharmaceutical giant also agreed to pay $19.5 million to 26 states and the District of Columbia. This was to settle complaints of their encouraging medical doctors to overprescribe OxyContin.
The U.S. Attorney John Brownlee at the time said, “With its OxyContin, Purdue unleashed a highly abusable, addictive, and potentially dangerous drug on an unsuspecting an unknowing public. For these misrepresentations and crimes, Purdue and its executives have been brought to justice.”
The public was betrayed about OxyContin and its dangerous risk of addiction by morally bankrupt, greedy, and shameless executives. They made billions through their self-aggrandizement by fraudulent and deviant scheming that led to thousands of deaths from OxyContin. This criminality not only took lives but ruined many people and their families by a drug which they knew was destructively addictive.
America Requires Ethical Protectors
During the entire presentation I continually encouraged attendees to respond to America’s drug crisis as ethical protectors.
I stressed that this deadliest drug crisis in American history, that killed more people last year then guns or car accidents, will require a multi-faceted and long-term approach.
This approach must include community leaders throughout all segments of society. It must also include not only a traditional law enforcement response, but police-community collaborations that offer treatments for those suffering from addiction.
The presentation concluded by emphasizing the critical importance of empowering our youth. America’s youth must be supported, encouraged, and empowered with the moral courage to stand as ethical protectors.
Our youth are critical to vanquishing the scourge of America’s drug crisis, which is inflicting unimaginable heartbreak on communities, families, and individuals.
The virtue of character throughout society was stressed, especially character education initiatives in our schools.
A quote from Cicero was emphasized as essential to character education in our schools:
“Within the character of the citizen lies the welfare of the citizen.”
America must rise to the call of an ethical renaissance. We must stand as ethical protectors throughout society and heed the beckoning of these concluding words of my presentation:
“Your honor, leadership, and integrity is mission critical to safeguarding America, protecting our people, and preserving our democracy.”
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen to Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.