Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that, after decades of relentless increases, there is finally evidence that the number of fatal drug overdoses is declining. Averaged across all states, in 2018, there were 4% fewer deaths. Experts from around the country expressed cautious optimism that the money and effort spent to rein in the opioid crisis — the worst drug epidemic in modern history — is finally yielding results.
The story is less hopeful here in Missouri where, despite receiving some $65 million in aid from the federal government since 2015 to address the epidemic, preliminary data shows that we defied the national trend, and our death rate actually increased by about 17%.
The reactions coming from the Missouri leaders who are responsible for these very poor outcomes reveal attitudes that are either gullible or outright dangerous; or, from my perspective, both.