The National Security Implications of Opioids

The National Security Implications of Opioids
AP Photo/Heng Sinith

The American opioid crisis is a slow burning rot with deep national security implications. The dark allure of opium--the strongest, most addictive, and now most accessible depressants ever known—erodes communities and incurs economic losses. The crisis, causing 63,600 deaths in 2016 and 52,000 in 2015, is bestowing quantifiable and devastating harm to children, friends, family and communities into the next generation. Strained morgues and burgeoning orphanages are monuments to families eternally separated and communities at a loss for solutions. Healthcare costs compound losses of workforce productivity and tax flows. Unaddressed, these local tragedies will culminate in a reduction of national military readiness for years to come—even as China, the primary source of the dangerous opioid fentanyl rises to power parity with the United States.

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