Over the last few years, the opioid crisis has become a dramatic part of America's national narrative. Some, including J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy,” construe it as a symptom of economic and cultural dysfunction, while others like the poet Wendell Berry, insist that the crisis prevails “because we have lost each other.”
In a moment of characteristic optimism, President Donald Trump declared last year that, “We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.” And thanks to extensive recent federal and state efforts, deaths from prescription opioids have decreased significantly. However, according to the Center for Disease Control, overdoses involving stronger, synthetic opioids trafficked here by Mexican cartels, Chinese smugglers, and online vendors, have risen by 10 percent.