Washington, D.C. — A new column released today by the Center for American Progress dispels false claims about immigration exacerbating the opioid crisis in America and calls on Congress and state governments to support meaningful, evidence-based public health solutions that save lives. The drug overdose epidemic has long plagued the United States, killing more than 932,000 people in the country since 1999. Within that total, the number of opioid deaths has since increased eightfold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The column outlines how despite a lack of evidence, misleading claims about immigrants have gained traction with the American public, particularly around fentanyl. The false narrative blaming immigrants for the opioid crisis ignores evidence-based solutions to an urgent public health crisis, harming those who are suffering from addiction, their families, and communities. The column also highlights the Biden administration’s effective solutions for fighting the opioid crisis: expanding access to Medicaid for low-income Americans, investing in resources and treatment options for addiction care, and working with regional countries to disrupt the supply of illicit opioids coming into the United States.
“The opioid crisis and fentanyl deaths cannot be blamed on immigrants and asylum-seekers. The overwhelming majority of fentanyl traffickers are U.S. citizens. Asylum-seekers usually arrive at the border with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, and many are themselves fleeing corruption and violence perpetrated by drug cartels,” said Trinh Q. Truong, a research assistant for Immigration Policy at CAP and co-author of the column. “There are no immigration solutions for a public health crisis. Fearmongering about immigration causing this crisis is irresponsible and dangerous. To defeat the opioid crisis, the United States must ensure that those suffering from addiction have access to high-quality treatment options and must work with neighboring countries to stop drug trafficking, both of which the Biden administration has prioritized.”
Read the column: “The Opioid Epidemic Demands Public Health Solutions, Not False Claims About Immigration” by Trinh Q. Truong and Debu Gandhi
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