For the first time in U.S. History, more Americans died in 2016 of drug overdoses than were killed in the Vietnam War. Let that sink in.

Last year’s death toll in the War on Drugs was 59,000 killed, while during the entire Vietnam War, 1955 to 1975, 58,220 American service members’ lives were lost. And, thanks to the immoral and futile police approach to the drug problem, there appears to be no hope in sight for the tide to change.

As The Free Thought Project had previously reported, drug overdose deaths outnumber the number of Americans killed in automobile accidents each year. Answering the question of who is responsible for so many overdose deaths requires a careful examination of the crisis which has now reached epidemic proportions.

The principal players appear to be pharmaceutical companies, who knowingly manufacture dangerous opioids — essentially synthetic heroin — which, alone, kills tens of thousands. Big Pharma has been caught time and again pushing the pills onto the nation’s physicians who prescribe the dangerously powerful painkillers en masse — even to children.

Then, there are the abusers, those who are addicted to opiates. Getting hooked on opiates is easy, according to the CDC, who recently recommended the powerful class of drugs be taken for no more than 14 days. According to the Washington Post:

Noting that “long-term opioid abuse often begins with treatment of acute pain,” the CDC said that “three or fewer days” of opioid treatment “usually will be sufficient for most non-traumatic pain not related to major surgery.”

Street pushers provide the missing source for the drugs when doctors will no longer prescribe the pills to patients who have demonstrated a pattern of abuse. Yet, thanks to the war on drugs pushing the sale of these drugs into dark alleys and the like, the quality of street drugs is questionable with every dose sold. Some opiates have even been laced with the powerful drug Fentanyl, a drug so dangerous even casual contact with it can prove fatal.

READ MORE:  Major Study Shows Legal Weed REVERSED a Decade of Rising Opioid Deaths in Colorado

As TFTP reported, Insys Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Fentanyl, donated half-a-million dollars to keep marijuana from becoming legal in one U.S. state. One-third of the overdose deaths in Ohio were linked to Fentanyl, yet instead of creating a safer drug, the company was more concerned with combatting cannabis legalization.

Last, but certainly not least, is the government’s own Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The DEA’s only purpose is propping up Big Pharma while raining hell down on Americans for their choice of substances. The DEA even admitted, early this year, it has been trafficking large quantities of controlled substances into the country.

Any decision to ban opiates or remove them from the market, would likely further drive the drugs underground, increase crime, criminalize abusers, lead to growth in the prison industrial complex, and result in many more overdoses. In fact, that is exactly what’s happening. The war on drugs is creating a de facto prison state.

Some U.S. States are taking matters into their own hands. As TFTP reported recently, Ohio is now suing drug manufacturers for their role in the crisis, stating their desire to increase their bottom line profit margins have crossed ethical lines and led to the deaths of countless Ohioans.

Other states and police departments are also taking radical measures to fix the problem instead of prolonging and expanding it through the use of police violence.

As the Boston Globe reports:

“As Gloucester police chief, Leonard Campanello pledged in 2015 that drug users could walk into the police station, hand over heroin, and walk out into treatment within hours — without arrest or charges. The concept of help rather than handcuffs became a national sensation.

Campanello is no longer police chief there, but the program is continuing in Gloucester. The concept of helping addicts instead of criminalizing them is such a success, it’s been adopted by 200 police agencies in 28 states. This encouraging phenomenon shows that it’s possible for law enforcement to listen to reason when it comes to drug abuse and actually helping communities.

READ MORE:  Major Study Shows Legal Weed REVERSED a Decade of Rising Opioid Deaths in Colorado

It puts police in the lifesaving business instead of the spin-drying business of arresting and releasing,” said John Rosenthal, a Boston resident fighting the opioid epidemic. “We estimate that approximately 10,000 people have been placed into treatment.

In Gloucester, records show that 530 people have sought help at the police station since June 2015. Steve Lesnikoski was the first person to get help under the program, and now, after 18 months of being clean, he says without the Angel Program, “I’d probably be in jail or dead.”

Fatal overdoses and drug arrests have decreased in Gloucester. A study by Boston University and Boston Medical Center provided compelling evidence for the Angel Program’s efficacy.

“In 417 cases where a person who visited the Gloucester police station was eligible for treatment, police data showed that 94.5 percent were offered direct placement and 89.7 percent enrolled in detox or other recovery services, according to Dr. Davida Schiff, a BMC pediatrician who was lead researcher in the study.


Those numbers, reported in December by the New England Journal of Medicine, compared with less than 60 percent of direct referrals from hospital-based programs, which recruit patients who visit emergency rooms with substance-abuse disorders, Schiff said.”

Doing the opposite of the war on drugs is what truly helps people.

It is also important to mention that the opiate addiction, overdose, and accidental death problems might simply be avoided if, ironically enough, marijuana is made legal nationwide. A little over half of the United States have legalized cannabis in some form, leaving nearly half of the remaining states and their residents with no access to legal weed.

READ MORE:  Major Study Shows Legal Weed REVERSED a Decade of Rising Opioid Deaths in Colorado

As TFTP has documented on several occasions, cannabis holds the promise of helping opiate addicts kick their addiction by substituting their cravings for opiates with the non-addictive pain killing properties of marijuana. And it’s not folklore. Doctors have experimented with cannabis as a substitute for opiates with high degrees of success.

For now, the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the direction of Attorney Jeff Sessions and his staff, has threatened to roll back the progress cannabis activists have made in the last eight and a half years. Joining the DOJ is the DEA which refuses to reclassify cannabis, and remove its current status as a Schedule I narcotic, alongside cocaine, lsd, and heroin.

All of these moves and potential moves by the DOJ and DEA  will only make the problem worse unless states like Ohio take measures into their own hands. Now that many in Congress have addicted family members, children, siblings, and friends, the matter has been taken much more seriously.

The idea of treating an addict with compassion instead of violence is a revolutionary notion in this country. However, in other countries, such as Portugal, its effects have been realized for more than a decade. In 2001, the Portuguese government decriminalized all drugs.

15 years later, drug use, crime, and overdoses have drastically declined in Portugal exposing the disturbing reality of prohibition.

Police departments choosing compassion over kidnapping and caging people is the solution and this program’s massive adoption by hundreds of departments across the country is nothing short of bombshell. It is revolutionary, and will undoubtedly lead to progress. However, there is still a long way to go.

This is how change comes — not through the barrel of a gun — but through empathy and peace.

Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine
  • Damiana

    You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

    ————-former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman———-

    • TOPDOG1

      A very effective way to divide and conquer was to deny these groups voting privileges this allowed the Authoritarians to take power.

    • Guy

      Simply Amazing Cat ! About history repeating itself over and over and over again.

      Makes me wonder if it is.*Just that the lights are on, But nobody’s home? Semming that folks memories of history are getting shorter, as our attention spans are doing the same thing. I wonder if this has anything to do with the *General Dumbing Down Of America,* that I keep hearing about ! Maybe it’s the IPhone’s or Fast Food everyone seems to be addicted to, or it could be all of that processed readymaid crap, that I see in folks grocery carts that is doing it ? One thing is for sure, nobody cooks anymore, they just heat and zap it to death !

      I remember it well, when that boy of Tricky Dicks, was standing befor congress, and lieing his head off about Watergate. Now we have the same thing all over again, with the new idiot in Washington D.C. J.*Mad-Dog* Sessions. Sending out edicts to his minions, about rolling out new re-writes to *The Go To Prison Sentencing Laws.*

      I wonder where they get these guys ? Perhaps they are freeze dried and just rehydrated every few years ? Or is it, just because it’s now a Republican Controlled House, they are going to show everybody, just how tough they can be on Crime, while taking us all back to the stone age of 1985 and 3 strikes You’re Out !?

  • Damiana

    Any decision to ban opiates or remove them from the market, would likely further drive the drugs underground, increase crime, criminalize abusers, lead to growth in the prison industrial complex, and result in many more overdoses.

    Not to mention all the people with a real and legitimate need for opiate pain relievers. Not everyone who uses them for more than 14 days is a degenerate junkie looking for something to get them high. Chronic pain is a VERY REAL problem, one that can’t be simply managed for every patient with “Tylenol, exercise, and positive thoughts.”

    For some people, narcotic pain pills are the only relief they get from being tortured by their own body. Taking away that option will NOT make these people any better – it will either make them suicidal with hopelessness or drive them straight to the nearest heroin dealer.

  • Damiana

    The concept of helping addicts instead of criminalizing them is such a success, it’s been adopted by 200 police agencies in 28 states.

    Something tells me that this “compassion” is NOT fairly applied to all demographics. Sounds to me like they sat around and determined “we’ve got a LOT of important white people getting arrested,” so they came up with this ambiguous “policy” that applies whenever they want it to apply.

    • Mod8guy

      Making study info, specifically demographic info as well as monetary income info public would be the best way to more clearly discern your position.

      Where to find this info is the question.

      • Damiana

        Good points!


    The D.E.A and other government and medical corporations put out so much false and misleading drug wear propaganda that no one but an idiot would believe their statistics. You believe it if you wish, just don’t expect me to buy into this obvious deception. The U.S. has a propaganda machine that would maker the W.W.2. Nazi’s swoon with admiration..Some mullets really chomp down on this.

  • IceTrey

    Fentanyl isn’t a dangerous drug. Just like anything the dose is the poison. You can kill yourself by drinking too much water.

    • Damiana

      Yeah, but you can’t go into respiratory arrest just from touching pure water. Seriously, if I were to plunge my hand into a pile of pure Fentanyl powder, my ass would be deader than fried chicken… even if I closed my eyes and held my breath.

      Some drugs are more dangerous than others. If you can’t accept that, then you need to go sit at the Dumbass Table.

      • IceTrey

        Sure you can, it’s called drowning. ??

    • Guy

      A little LSD gets you giddy and high, a medium amount makes you see colors and paisleys, and a lot, you start to talk too, and hear god! How much do you need to be considered stupid ?

  • Why focus on those killed in Vietnam by US troops to compare those killed in 2016 by drugs? <<< Why not use the stats from TROP and how many were killed by muslims in the past month?

    Of course… since muslims are the world's biggest heroin dealers… it would be more applicable… aye?

    Yes folks… muslims like dealing drugs… it's used as a soft kill method to get rid of Infidels…

    • Damiana

      Shut the fuck up, you babbling twatgoblin!

    • algorn deanza

      Right as Rain sumsrent . Muslim is there “trigger” word 😉 . They love to smear anything that has to do with true freedom. Basically anything to do with Service to US. Patriotism Trumps there idology So they lash out at it in any form.

  • crazytrain2

    Where to start? First, the majority of fentanyl in the US is supplied by Mexico and China. Synthetic fentanyl is shipped overseas from labs in Southeast Asia. People dying from accidental pill overdoses has dropped with the availability of the synthetic substances.

    As for portugals miraculous results, they are questionable. In 1999 there were 400 od deaths from heroin. In 2001 there were 281 then in 2006, there were either 133 or or 290-those numbers from the same site “drug facts of portugal.” But even if the numbers were dropping, the avg death per 1 million is still 13.4 deaths. That is almost five times higher than any other European nation, with an average of 2.8.

    I am all for the legalization of mj, but I don’t see any heroin addict giving up heroin for pot. If that was the case, they would simply quit heroin and use pot, which is more readily available.