The opioid epidemic is wreaking havoc across the United States of America. In 2021, the opioid epidemic cost the United States of America nearly $ 1.5 trillion and over 107,000 people died from overdose. This is projected to increase given the growing availability of illicit fentanyl. Last year alone, more than fifty million fentanyl laced, fake prescription pills were seized. This crisis must end and to do so will require all sectors to play a role.
Since 1989, the National Guard has been combating the crisis in every state, territory, District of Columbia, and zip code through the National Guard Counterdrug Program. This program provides trained military professionals to work alongside with law enforcement agencies and community based organizations to help get illegal drugs off the streets.
In 2022, the program supported the seizure of the following:
$202.2M in Illicit U.S. Currency
$74.5M in Property
95,446 kg of Marijuana
139,620 kg of Cocaine
111,823 kg of Methamphetamines
2,867 kg of Heroin
28,717 kg of Synthetic Opioids
The National Guard is a true force multiplier. Each Counterdrug Program analyst supports 10-15 agents already on the ground. Additionally, there are five Counterdrug Program regional schools which trains an average of 68,000 active law enforcement officers per year on region specific threats and proven techniques from the field.
The fentanyl crisis is drastically increasing, and the Counterdrug Program funding has remained stagnant since the early 1990s at roughly $200M annually. Between the much-needed salary increases and inflation, the Counterdrug Program can potentially do more in this proven enduring initiative with amplified resources to reduce the illegal drug use, misuse, and related deaths to include considerably diminishing the availability of the heroin and fentanyl within our communities.