Lives ruined, Families and communities decimated by fentanyl
Fentanyl is number one killer in the USA for most age cohorts. Unfortunately, the CDC doesn’t track deaths in a timely manner to confirm that easily… But here is their position: they will say that they don’t really “know”, because “overdose deaths are spread out across four different death categories: accidents, suicide, homicide and undetermined.”
The implication of this CDC spokesperson’s statement is that we live in some reality where the 1950s never ended. Where it is either too painful, shameful or irrelevant for our society to track drug overdoses in a meaningful way. For me, I think the answer is obvious. I think we can probably all know cultural shame when we “see” it. The definition of shame is well known.
Shame: [noun] a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety. the susceptibility to such emotion.
OK - but here is where it gets weird. Searching and shifting though the CDC webpages - it turns out that the CDC writes that it does track overdose deaths through a system called SUDORS and another program called DOSE. These are programs that extract data from state death reports. It is a complex program and fairly new, but they basically extract IC-10 death codes and other relevant data from state death reports. But many (most) states don’t track overdose deaths by drug. So, there is a “which comes first, chicken or egg?” problem in fentanyl death data tracking.
Could it be that the CDC is hiding the data? Now that has never happened before <sarcasm>. We all know that during the COVIDcrisis, the CDC was caught numerous times hiding analyzed data as well as not not analyzing data or reporting data. My fear that that maybe this behavior is not new. That the CDC doesn’t want the American public to know that real numbers.
So, I am reading pages and pages on the CDC website about how overdose deaths can be tracked (which is quite complex) and this whole systems appears to be a “work around” because tracking deaths from overdosing from fentanyl does not appear to be a primary CDC objective.
I have a goal. I am searching for numbers - fresh numbers. Numbers that support the claims that we are now are 300 deaths per day from fentanyl overdoses (a number I never could verify). Because that is the number that is “out there” in the press. But on the CDC site - the actual numbers are STILL buried. For instance, at the bottom on one report - there is a link: “Drug Overdose Deaths and where does it take me?
Then I find what appears to be it. The page with my answers. A June 2022 report - and… the data on the June 2022 report is that from 2020… another dead end.
OK- so the CDC most up to date report on drug overdoses is from deaths in 2020.
OK - enough of this.
At this point, I have to give up on the CDC for answers as to how fast this epidemic is growing. I have to trust that the non-profit groups working on this issue have numbers that are trustworthy because our government, near as I can tell, is either completely incompetent or playing “hide the data.” You decide. I know which answer I am betting on.
Then finally, when digging around - I find some more recent data from a CDC website (it turns out there are data on combined drug overdoses).